by Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | September 8, 2017 11:15 am
An 8.1 magnitude earthquake has hit off the coast of southern Mexico early this morning. At least 32 are known dead and they fear that number will jump as the damage is assessed. Hotels were toppled and homes were destroyed as it rolled Mexico. There were tsunami waves and they have widespread power outages there. The quake hit 73 miles off of Tres Picos. The epicenter was 102 miles west of Tapachula in the southern state of Chiapas and had a depth of approximately 21 miles. It was so strong it sent people fleeing from buildings in Mexico City, 650 miles away. The quake was felt in Texas too.
President Enrique Pena Nieto said the earthquake is the biggest the country has seen in a century. He said that 62 aftershocks followed the quake and it’s possible one as strong as 7.2 could hit in the next 24 hours. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center early Friday confirmed tsunami waves in Mexico, with the largest wave so far measuring 3 feet.
Around midnight, at 12:49 am, tall buildings began swaying for more than a minute. Alarms went off about 30 seconds before some felt the quake. Buildings swayed so massively that they hit neighboring buildings. There was a 5.7 aftershock immediately after the big one. “The worst situation is in the Istmo de Tehuantepec, where one hotel collapsed and five people are dead and four missing. A hospital was badly damaged, and two houses collapsed,” Oaxaca Civil Protection Director Amado Bohorquez told CNN Espanol. Guatemalan regions near the Mexican border were also hit hard, with the Guatemalan Red Cross tweeting photos of utter devastation after the quake.
Many parts of Mexico do not have the building codes we do here in the states and their structures are far more susceptible to damage in such an event. However, with a quake of this magnitude, all bets are off for any structure. The earthquake hit just as heavy rains from Hurricane Katia slammed the east coast of Mexico.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) Pager system, which predicts economic and human loss after earthquakes, issued a red alert. “High casualties and extensive damage are probable and the disaster is likely widespread. Past red alerts have required a national or international response,” it said.
A tsunami was confirmed in Mexico, with one wave coming in at 3 feet (1 meter), according to a tweet from the National Weather Service’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. It said tsunami waves taller than 10 feet (3 meters) could hit coast of Mexico, while 3-foot waves could reach as far as Ecuador, New Zealand and Vanuatu.
Mexico is mobilizing their Army, Marines and Federal Police as I write this. This is a massive catastrophe for them and my thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this calamity. So many of them this week… the earthquake, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Katia and Hurricane Jose on the way. Pray for America and Mexico.
Socorristas de #CruzRojaGT reportan daños en Tacaná, San Marcos. pic.twitter.com/zn4OVwn91x
— CruzRojaGT (@CRGuatemalteca) September 8, 2017
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