Monday 16 July 2018

Horror as 6.2 earthquake hits Mexico - just four days after deadly 7.1 quake

  • New earthquake measures 6.2 magnitude
  • Quake hits just four days after deadly earthquake claimed nearly 300 lives
  • Third earthquake in Mexico this month
People stand together on a street after a tremor was felt in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
People stand together on a street after a tremor was felt in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
A rescue removes debris in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
People who are living in a shelter because their homes were damaged in an earthquake, are united in a prayer after a tremor was felt in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
A Mexican soldier and his dog search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
People run for refuge to a school used as a shelter after a tremor was felt in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
People stand together on a street after a tremor was felt in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
A Mexican soldier and his dog search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
People run for refuge to a school used as a shelter after a tremor was felt in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
A Mexican soldier and his dog search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Members of rescue team search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Julia Love and Alexandra Alper

There has been a new earthquake in Mexico measured at magnitude 6.2 and centered in the southern state of Oaxaca, US seismologists say.

The quake hits the country just four days after a deadly 7.1 magnitude quake claimed the lives of 300 people and injured a total of 2,619.

A rescue removes debris in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
A rescue removes debris in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Witnesses told Reuters that a slight tremor was felt in Mexico City and seismic alarms sounded.

Residents ran into the streets and rescuers briefly stopped combing the rubble left by a bigger tremor earlier this week.

People stand together on a street after a tremor was felt in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
People stand together on a street after a tremor was felt in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

The United States Geological Survey said the new quake was relatively shallow and hit near Juchitan, which is a tropical region of Oaxaca state hard hit by another major earthquake on Sept 7.

Already shaken by the two recent earthquakes that have killed at least 380 people in Mexico this month, thousands of people ran out onto the streets again in Oaxaca and Mexico City, some in pajamas when the new tremor shortly before 8 a.m.

"I heard the alarm and ran downstairs with my family," said Sergio Cedillo, 49, who was watching rescuers efforts to find survivors from Tuesday's quake when the alarm sounded.

No new damage was immediately reported, but rescue efforts were suspended in areas affected by Tuesday's quake to allow authorities to see if the new tremors would put workers at risk, Luis Felipe Puente, the head of Mexico's civil protection agency said.

A Mexican soldier and his dog search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
A Mexican soldier and his dog search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Rescue efforts

The quake comes as armies of trained rescuers and scores of volunteers are already carefully combing through the rubble of Mexico's most deadly earthquake in decades, hoping against diminishing odds to pull more survivors out nearly four days after the disaster struck.

A Mexican soldier and his dog search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
A Mexican soldier and his dog search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero

While rescue efforts at the sites of some collapsed buildings had been called off, at others sweat-drenched workers kept up a frenzied pace.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake destroyed 52 buildings in the sprawling Mexican capital early afternoon on Tuesday, leaving thousands homeless and close to 300 people dead nationwide.

Apartment buildings, offices, a school and a textile factory were among the structures flattened.

Maria Isela Sandoval waited anxiously outside a collapsed office building in the trendy Roma neighborhood for news of her missing nephew and possibly other co-workers trapped somewhere under the ruins.

People run for refuge to a school used as a shelter after a tremor was felt in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
People run for refuge to a school used as a shelter after a tremor was felt in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

She said her nephew worked on the fourth floor of the building, and that officials have told her they believe survivors could be trapped in a capsule within the twisted steel and chunks of concrete.

"We pray to God they are alive, that they can hold on," the 38-year-old housewife said, her eyes red with exhaustion as she has not slept in days.

U.S. rescue workers went to work Friday in the collapsed office building, looking for six people who were still missing.

Mexican soldiers and volunteers, supported by teams from as far away as Israel and Japan, have so far rescued at least 60 people from the ruins in Mexico City and surrounding towns.

After several days of searching, rescuers were finding more corpses than survivors, and frustration was mounting especially as the government's efforts were largely panned.

Across the mega city of more than 20 million people, many whose homes had become uninhabitable sought a place to call home, raising the specter of a housing shortage.

Officials said there could be some 20,000 badly damaged homes in the adjacent states of Morelos and Puebla.

Julia Juarez, 56, sat in a park where the homeless set up tents. "All the help we have received is from the civilian population. The government has not sent anything at all," she said. "No food, no clothes, no water, not even an Alka-Seltzer," she said, referring to the pain relieving medication.

Tuesday's massive quake hit on the anniversary of the deadly 1985 tremor that by some estimates killed as many as 10,000 people and destroying scores of older buildings in the Mexican capital.

Despite the shrinking odds that more survivors would be pulled out from huge piles of debris, workers at many sites continued to dig on the faintest chance at success.

At the same collapsed Roma office building, volunteer coordinator Angel Ortiz, a 36-year-old taxi driver, pointed to the results of heat-sensing detectors that appeared to show signs of life somewhere underneath the rubble.

"There are still people alive down there," he said.

Like many traumatized but determined rescue workers, Ortiz described the past few days as an emotional roller-coaster, feeling encouraged one moment but depressed the next.

"For me, it's really satisfying to be here even though it's hard to explain," he said. "There's so much emotion and anxiety."

More to follow

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