Powerful quake shakes south-west Mexico, at least one dead

Published : 08 Sep 2021 09:00 PM

AFP, Mexico City 

A powerful earthquake struck south-western Mexico near the beach resort of Acapulco on Tuesday killing at least one man who was crushed by a falling post, and causing rock falls and damaging buildings, the authorities said.

The quake of magnitude 7.0, which hit 17.7km north-east of Acapulco, shook the hillsides around the city, downing trees and pitching large boulders onto roads, causing power outages in several states.

Many people gathered in the streets of the Mexican holiday destination amid the aftershocks.

“We were only just checking into the hotel, so we have all our things with us,” said Ms Jessica Arias, who was part of a group of eight visiting from Mexico City, the capital. “They told us it’s still not safe to enter.” Others said they were having dinner or at the cinema when the quake hit.

“We were in shock,” said Ms Andrea del Valle, who was sitting on a pavement with her partner after rushing out of a cinema. “There were no earthquake alarms, so we felt it when it was already happening.”

Guerrero state governor Hector Astudillo told local television that a man was killed by a falling post in Coyuca de Benitez, a small town just west of Acapulco.

The authorities reported a gas leak at a cafe as well as damage to a hotel and a public hospital.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the earthquake had not caused major damages in Guerrero, the neighbouring region of Oaxaca, Mexico City, or any other areas. Acapulco is roughly 370km from Mexico City.

In the central Roma Sur neighbourhood of Mexico City, lights went off and scared residents rushed out, some wearing little more than their pyjamas, a witness said. Residents hurdled together in the rain, holding young children or pets.

"It was terrible. It really reminds me of the 1985 quake every time something like this happens," said Roma Sur resident Yesmin Rizk, 70.

Residents outside their homes as a result of the earthquake in Mexico City on Sept 7, 2021. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

He was referring to the 8.1-magnitude quake in Mexico City on Sept 19, 1985, that killed more than 10,000 people and destroyed hundreds of buildings.

On the anniversary of that earthquake in 2017, a 7.1 quake left around 370 people dead, mainly in the capital.

Bordered by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Mexico is one of the most seismically active places in the world, sitting atop five tectonic plates including three major ones.

The US Geological Survey said Tuesday’s quake, initially measured at a magnitude of 7.4 and later downgraded to 7.0, was relatively shallow, less than 20km below the surface, which would have amplified the shaking effect.

Mexican state power utility the Comision Federal de Electricidad said in a statement 1.6 million users had been affected by the quake in Mexico City, the adjacent state of Mexico, and the states of Guerrero, Morelos and Oaxaca.