International desk – A powerful earthquake in Mexico has killed at least 216 people causing massive devastation in the Latin American country on Tuesday.
Rescuers have been searching for survivors through the night after earthquake shook Mexico City and surrounding states leaving many trapped under collapsed buildings.
According to CNN broadcaster at least 216 people died in Mexico City — the country’s capital — and in the states of Puebla, Mexico and Morelos, officials said.
The epicenter of the 7.1-magnitude earthquake was 4.5 kilometers east-northeast of San Juan Raboso and 55 km south-southwest of the city of Puebla, according to the US Geological Survey.
President Enrique Peña Nieto said 22 bodies were found in the debris of an elementary school in Mexico City that collapsed due to the quake. At least 30 children were still missing Tuesday night, he said.
“We are facing a new national emergency,” Peña Nieto told citizens earlier on his first address following the earthquake.
Tuesday’s earthquake came more than one week after a magnitude-8.1 earthquake struck off the southern coast of the country, killing at least 90, according to the governor of the hard-hit state of Oaxaca.
In Mexico City, thousands of soldiers, rescuers and civilians — including college students — were working side by side to dig through tall piles of rubble from dozens of crumbled buildings.
Some carried away buckets full of debris while others called out the names of those who have been rescued. At times, rescuers asked for total silence as they tried to hear voices coming from under the debris.
The quake left the busiest city in Mexico in chaos.
Windows buckled and shattered, falling several stories to the ground while thousands of people streamed into the streets running away from buildings and potential gas leaks.
People struggled to get home when power poles that toppled in the quake blocked the streets and the public transportation system temporarily shut down operations. Nearly 5 million customers were still without power early Wednesday.
All public and private schools in Mexico City and some of the states affected by the earthquake will remain closed until further notice, Education Minister Aurelio Nuño tweeted.
The earthquake took place on the anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985. Just hours before the quake hit, many people took part in drills and commemorative events.
“God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you,” US President Donald Trump tweeted.