A strong earthquake shakes Mexico, leaving two dead

A massive earthquake rocked Mexico Thursday, resulting in at least two deaths as residents rushed to the streets of the capital in the middle of the night after another powerful earthquake.

A woman died in Mexico City after falling down stairs and banging her head when the earthquake triggered early warnings, while a second victim in the capital suffered a heart attack, authorities said.

The epicenter of the 6.9-magnitude earthquake was near the Pacific coast, 84 kilometers (52 mi) south of Coalcoman in the western state of Michoacan, the National Seismological Agency reported.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has estimated the magnitude at 6.8.

It was the strongest of more than 1,200 aftershocks from a 7.7-magnitude earthquake that hit the same area on Monday, the national seismological agency said.

That quake killed two people in western Mexico, damaged several thousand buildings and sparked panic more than 400 kilometers away in Mexico City.

The latest earthquake triggered alarms again in the capital shortly after 1:00 am (0600 GMT) and made buildings shake and sway.

Many people quickly evacuated their homes when the alarms went off, some still in their pajamas and with their pet dogs.

“We had a 6.9-magnitude aftershock with its epicenter at Coalcoman,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Twitter.

“Unfortunately, two people lost their lives in Mexico City,” he said, adding that there have been no reports of casualties in the western states of Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said official helicopters flew over the capital and there are no initial reports of destruction.

“So far there is no damage to the city after the earthquake,” he tweeted.

The quake struck at a depth of 12 kilometers, according to the national seismological agency, while the USGS estimated the depth at 24 kilometers, located about 410 kilometers from Mexico City.

– traumatic anniversary –

Monday’s quake came less than an hour after millions of people in Mexico City participated in emergency drills on the anniversary of two deadly earthquakes in 1985 and 2017.

The timing was nothing more than a coincidence, the national seismological agency said.

“There is no scientific reason to explain it,” he added.

On September 19, 1985, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake killed more than 10,000 people and destroyed hundreds of buildings.

On the anniversary of that earthquake in 2017, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake killed about 370 people, mostly in the capital.

During Monday’s earthquake, a man was killed by falling debris at a shopping mall in Manzanillo, in the western state of Colima.

A woman later died of injuries caused by the fall of a wall in the same city.

Mexico is located in the most seismically and volcanically active area in the world, known as the Ring of Fire, where the Pacific plate meets the surrounding tectonic plates.

Mexico City, which together with the surrounding urban areas is home to over 20 million people, is built in a natural basin filled with the sediments of a former lake, making it particularly vulnerable to earthquakes.

The capital has an early warning system using seismic monitors that aims to give residents sufficient time to evacuate buildings when earthquakes hit seismic zones near the Pacific coast.