Magnitude-8.1 Earthquake Hits Off Mexico's Southern Coast

Saul Bowman
September 11, 2017

At least 33 people were killed Friday when a a powerful 8.2-magnitude quake struck southern Mexico, authorities said.

Besides Mexico, EL Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama were on alert for the tidal waves.

The death toll from the powerful 8.1 magnitude quake that jolted the southern coast of Mexico late Thursday, rose to 61 with relief operations still underway.

The most powerful natural disaster to strike in around 100 years saw with tremors reported from Mexico City to San Salvador to the south.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake, which occurred near the border between Mexico and Guatemala, was felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City.

Such earthquakes can come with a list of aftereffects, including tsunamis and landslides, according to the USGS, which reported aftershocks registering above magnitude 5.

The quake occurred almost 44 miles below the surface at 10:50 p.m. mountain time Thursday, and was reported to be felt in Austin, Texas, almost 1,300 miles away. It had a depth of more than 40 miles.

Operation USA has ties to Mexico, having worked there in the wake of previous disasters, including the major 1985 quake and most recently following major flooding in 2013.

Eduardo Mendoza, the senior program manager for Direct Relief, told ABC News that the town of Juchitan in Oaxaca state "was completely leveled". "The streetlights started swinging back and forth", said Mayaro Ortega, 31, a resident of the capital's north side who went running from her building.

Reports thus far indicate that at least 100 people have been killed, and that number is expected to rise as day breaks and crews are able to get into areas where victims may be trapped.

Governor of Tabasco, Arturo Nunez, says that one child casualty resulted when a wall collapsed, the other during a power outage at a hospital which turned off the baby's ventilator.

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