Strong earthquake rocks Mexico, sends people fleeing as buildings sway violently

Strong earthquake rocks Mexico, sends people fleeing as buildings sway violently

People stand on the street after an earthquake shook buildings in Mexico City, Mexico February 16, 2018.

Claudia Daut/Reuters

  • A strong earthquake that hit Mexico on Friday afternoon rocked buildings across Mexico City, and sent people fleeing.
  • Buildings swayed for more than a minute as seismic alarms went off.
  • The area is already reeling from an earthquake that caused widespread damage in September.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook south and central Mexico Friday, causing people to flee buildings and office towers in the country’s capital, where residents were still jittery after a deadly quake five months ago.

Crowds of people gathered on Mexico City’s central Reforma Avenue in Mexico City as well as on streets in Oaxaca state’s capital, nearer the quake’s epicenter.

„It was awful,” said Mercedes Rojas Huerta, 57, who was sitting on a bench outside her home in Mexico City’s trendy Condesa district, too frightened to go back inside. „It started to shake; the cars were going here and there. What do I do?”

She said she was still scared thinking of the Sept. 19 earthquake that left 228 people dead in the capital and 369 across the region. Many buildings in Mexico City are still damaged from that quake.

Mexican Civil Protection chief Luis Felipe Fuente tweeted that there were no immediate reports of damages from Friday’s quake.

The U.S. Geological Survey put its preliminary magnitude at 7.2 and said its epicenter was 33 miles (53 kilometers) northeast of Pinotepa in Oaxaca state. It had a depth of 15 miles (24 kilometers).

The epicenter is a rural area of western Oaxaca state near the Pacific coast and the border with Guerrero state.

The Oaxaca state civil protection agency said via Twitter that it was monitoring the coastline.

In the Condesa neighborhood, which was hit hard on Sept. 19, frightened residents flooded into the streets, including one woman wrapped in just a towel, but there were no immediate signs of damage.

„I’m scared,” Rojas Huerta said. „The house is old.”

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