Published: Sun, September 10, 2017
World Media | By June Phelps

Mexico natural disaster: Death toll rises to 90

Mexico natural disaster: Death toll rises to 90

The death toll from Thursday's massive quake off the coast of southern Mexico rose to 61 on Saturday as emergency responders scrambled to clear debris, restore power and provide housing for thousands of displaced people in one of the country's poorest and most remote regions.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said that at least 200 people were injured in the worst hit states of Tabasco, Oaxaca and Chiapas after the 8.1-magnitude quake hit.

The governor of the hard-hit state of Oaxaca said Saturday that 71 people had died in his state, Oaxaca's Civil Protection agency said via Twitter.

Hundreds of buildings collapsed or were damaged, power was cut at least briefly to more than 1.8 million people and authorities closed schools on Friday in at least 11 states to check them for safety.

Emergency crews in Mexico have recovered the body of a police officer buried in rubble, raising to 65 the death toll from this week's 8.1-magnitude natural disaster.

In Xalapa, the capital of the eastern state of Veracruz, "two people died in mudslides" triggered by the rainstorm, Puente said.

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He told Radio Formula that rescuers were searching for a policeman thought to be buried under the rubble of a collapsed building in Juchitan, where the city hall was badly damaged, along with at least 7,000 homes.

The 64-year-old woman was working the night shift at a neighborhood pharmacy when the quake struck Thursday, collapsing the building.

"It's unusual, but it's not unheard of", said seismologist Susan Hough of the USGS, describing how stresses on the seafloor can produce big earthquakes.

"The whole city is a disaster zone right now".

Torrential rains pounded the villages of Veracruz, where two people were killed by a mudslide, according to Gov. Miguel Angel.

Smaller tsunami waves were observed on the coast or measured by ocean gauges elsewhere.

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In Tabasco state, two children were among the dead, officials said.

In neighboring Guatemala, President Jimmy Morales appeared on national television to call for calm while emergency crews surveyed damage.

Across the country, Hurricane Katia was roaring onshore north of Tecolutla in Veracruz state, pelting the region with intense rains and winds.

The Oaxacan town of Juchitan bore the burnt of the damage - 36 people were killed there.

Mr. Pena Nieto said 50 million of Mexico's 120 million people felt the quake.

It weakened as it made landfall on Friday night.

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Earlier, tsunami waves reaching 0.7 metres above the tide level were recorded by automated sea level gauges near the resort of Huatulco in Oaxaca state.

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