7.1 magnitude earthquake shakes Mexico City

At time of publication, at least 217 people have died

Published September 19, 2017 5:59PM (EDT)

A building that collapsed after an earthquake in  Mexico City. (AP/Rebecca Blackwell)
A building that collapsed after an earthquake in Mexico City. (AP/Rebecca Blackwell)

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake has hit Mexico City and the surrounding area. Resident fled into the streets as buildings crumbled. The epicenter of the quake was in central Mexico, a mere 76 miles southeast of the capital, in the town Raboso and state of Puebla, according to reports from the United States Geological Survey.

The quake comes just ten days after another 8.2 magnitude earthquake — the strongest in a century — ravaged southern Mexico, killing around 61 people, according to The New York Times.

Pictures on social media depict the immense devastation and disarray the quake has so far caused.

Mexican Officials took to social media to release advisories and reaffirm to those affected that they were taking immediate action.

"I have called a meeting for the National Emergency Committee to evaluate the situation and to coordinate any actions. Plan MX has been activated. In flight to Oaxaca. Immediately return to the city of Mexico to address the situation by earthquake,” President Enrique Peña Nieto said in a series of tweets. “Before returning to your home or building, review damage, disconnect the light and close the gas. It is important to avoid travel on streets and avenues to allow emergency vehicles to pass.”

Currently, the airport in Mexico City is closed, all public and private schools are cancelled until further notice, and hospital patients are being transported to safer areas.  

Coincidentally, the disaster comes on the 32nd anniversary of the powerful 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which killed around 10,000 people and registered as an 8.1 on the moment magnitude scale. To commemorate the 1985 quake, residents took part in traditional preparedness drills this morning, according to Buzzfeed.

An American visitor in Mexico City who was present for the quake told CNN, “[the earthquake] is almost a roller coaster ride, where you think, wow, this is kind of cool. But then all of a sudden, you're like this isn't cool at all.”

At the time of publication, CNN estimates at least 217 people have died. The number of injuries is currently unknown, and the totality of the damage has yet to be estimated.

By Jennie Neufeld

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Earthquakes Mexico City Mexico City 2017 Earthquake Natural Disasters Peña Nieto