At least 217 persons have been feared dead after a strong earthquake struck central Mexico, toppling dozens of buildings in the capital, Mexico City.
President Enrique Peña Nieto said more than 20 children had died and 30 were missing after a school collapsed.
Rescuers frantically searched through the rubble of collapsed schools, homes and apartment buildings early Wednesday after Mexico’s deadliest earthquake since 1985 killed at least 217 people.
The quake struck at about 2:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday and had a magnitude of 7.1, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Its epicenter was in the state of Puebla, about 80 miles southeast of Mexico City.
It came less than two weeks after a magnitude-8.1 quake hit the country and killed nearly 100.
The tremor struck shortly after many people had taken part in an earthquake drill, exactly 32 years after a quake killed thousands in Mexico City.
The country is prone to earthquakes and earlier this month an 8.1 magnitude tremor in the south left at least 90 dead.
An earlier death toll of nearly 250 was lowered to 217 by the country’s national co-ordinator for civil protection:
- Morelos state: 71 dead
- Puebla state: 43 dead
- Mexico City: 87 dead
- Mexico state: 12 dead
- Guerrero: 3 dead
- Oaxaca: 1
President Peña Nieto said more than 20 children and two adults had been found dead at the collapsed Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City’s southern Coapa district. He said another 30 children and eight adults were missing.
The President was on a flight to Oaxaca when the quake struck and said in a tweet that he was immediately returning to Mexico City to assess the situation.
He later issued a video message urging calm. “The priority at this moment is to keep rescuing people who are still trapped and to give medical attention to the injured people,” Peña Nieto added.
President Donald Trump, who has clashed with Peña Nieto over his repeated calls for a border wall between their countries, sent his support in a tweet.
“God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you,” he wrote.