Mexican quake wrecks thousands of homes
A massive earthquake off southern Mexico on Thursday night have damaged tens of thousands of homes and afflicted upwards of two million people in the poorer south, state officials said, as more details of the disaster emerged.
The 8.1 magnitude quake off the coast of Chiapas state was stronger than a 1985 temblor that flattened swathes of Mexico City and killed thousands. However, its greater depth and distance helped save the capital from more serious damage.
Late on Saturday, authorities in the southern state of Oaxaca said there were 71 confirmed fatalities there, many of them in the town of Juchitan, where the rush to bury victims crowded a local cemetery on Saturday.
Television footage from parts of Oaxaca showed small homes and buildings completely levelled by the quake, which struck the narrowest portion of Mexico on the isthmus of Tehuantepec.
Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat told Mexican television the quake hit 41 municipalities and had likely affected around one in five of the state’s 4-million strong population.
“We’re talking about more 800,000 people who potentially lost everything, and some their loved-ones,” he said on Sunday.
In Juchitan alone, more than 5,000 homes were destroyed. Hundreds and thousands of Mexicans were temporarily left without electricity or water, and many in the south were evacuated from coastal dwellings when the quake sparked tsunami warnings.