At least one dead as powerful earthquake rocks Mexico

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The earthquake hits western Mexico on the anniversary of two previous quakes that left the country reeling in 1985 and 2017.

A powerful, 7.6 magnitude earthquake has struck western Mexico, killing at least one person and causing panic in the country’s capital on the anniversary of two previous quakes.

The earthquake hit shortly after 1pm local time (16:00 GMT) on Monday and was centred in the border area between the states of Michoacan and Colima at a depth of about 15km (9 miles), according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in a video address that a person had died in the Pacific port of Manzanillo after a wall collapsed in a store.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said there were no immediate reports of damage in the capital after the earthquake, which rumbled through Mexico on the same day that major quakes battered the country in 1985 and 2017.

“It’s this date, there’s something about the 19th,” said Ernesto Lanzetta, a business owner in the Cuauhtemoc borough of the city. “The 19th is a day to be feared.”

The earthquake on September 19, 2017, killed more than 350 people, while the other on the same date in 1985 killed thousands.

Al Jazeera’s John Holman, reporting from Mexico City, said many in Mexico viewed the timing of Monday’s quake as “really bizarre”.

“It’s happened exactly on the anniversary – the 19th of September – as two other major earthquakes in Mexico,” Holman said. “Those last two earthquakes really wreaked havoc, especially here in the capital.”

On Monday, Mexico City’s early warning earthquake alarms rang out less than an hour after the capital held emergency drills as part of events to mark the previous two disasters.

“It felt terrible. We went down as soon as we felt it, when the alarm sounded,” Karina Suarez, 37, said after evacuating the building where she lives in the capital.

Power was knocked out in parts of the central Roma area of Mexico City, some 400km (250 miles) from the epicentre.

People attending an event to honour victims of the 2017 earthquake react as another quake was felt in Mexico City on September 19 [Luis Cortes/Reuters]

Local residents cradling pets stood on the street, while tourists visiting a local market with a local guide were visibly confused and upset. Traffic lights stopped working, and people clutched their phones, sending text messages or waiting for calls to get through.

“I thought I would have a heart attack,” said Gabriela Ramirez, 58, one of the many residents across the city who rushed out into the streets.

Michoacan’s Public Security Department said there have not been reports of serious damage in the state so far.

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued warnings for sections of Mexico’s west coast, saying hazardous waves were possible within 300km (186 miles) of the quake’s epicentre.

Mexico’s National Civil Defense agency did not put out a similar warning, saying it does not expect to see a variation in sea levels.



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