A 7.4-magnitude earthquake has rattled large swaths of southern and central Mexico,killing at least one person.
The quake struck the southern state of Oaxaca at 10.29am local time (1429 BST) on Tuesday but was felt more than 400 miles away in the capital, Mexico City, where buildings shook and panicked residents fled on to the streets.
“It really moved,” said Francisco Aceves, the owner of an import-export firm in Mexico City who was on the 22nd floor of an office block when the quake struck.
Así se vivió el terremoto de este 23 de junio en la azotea de un edificio en Ciudad de México pic.twitter.com/0Hig3IKpw9— RT en Español (@ActualidadRT) June 23, 2020
Mexican newspapers said there were no immediate reports of damage in the capital, where memories of a 2017 earthquake that felled buildings and killed more than 300 people are still fresh.
“So far no major damage has been reported – just the collapse of a few walls and building fronts,” Claudia Sheinbaum, the city’s mayor, said in a video from Mexico City’s emergency response centre.
The situation near the quake’s epicentre in Crucecita, Oaxaca, was not immediately clear.
But in a social media “message to the Mexican people” president Andrés Manuel López Obrador officials said one person had been confirmed dead after a landslide along the country’s Pacific coast. Another person was injured.
López Obrador, or Amlo as he is widely known, said no “strategic infastructure” such as ports, airports, refineries and hydroelectric dams had been damaged.
Imagenes del Terremoto M7.4 en Mexico. pic.twitter.com/LJBfE1TU1a— ⒾⓃⒻⓄⓈⒾⓈⓂⓄⓁⓄⒼⒾⒸ CHILE (@EarthquakeChil1) June 23, 2020
“Everything is in good shape,” Amlo said urging Mexicans to stay alert but calm.
Richard Hanson, a 44-year-old American who runs an NGO in Oaxaca’s state capital called Tejiendo Alianzas, said: “It started really slow … and then very quickly it notched up very fast.”
“Our fan was moving around a lot, you could hear the noise of the walls and the earth moving, things stared falling off the shelves in the kitchen and crashing and breaking on the ground.”
Imágenes de los vecinos de Ciudad de México tras el terremoto de 7,5, registrado en Oaxaca (al sur del país), que no ha causado daños graves en la capital. Se ha activado una alerta de tsunami https://t.co/Xe1tY9Vk1D pic.twitter.com/h7p8mQ3KVu— EL PAÍS (@el_pais) June 23, 2020
Outside Hanson said “people were running out of buildings, screaming and getting on the ground … Some people were just running to any open space.”
Photographs from the state capital showed rubble strewn streets and the partially collapsed facade of one historic building.
The earthquake’s epicentre was just east of Huatulco, one of Mexico’s top tourist destinations, where beaches had only just reopened last week after closing because of the Corona.
Tuesday’s quake set off a tsunami warning for a radius of 1,000 km (621 miles) on the Pacific coasts of Mexico and Central America, including Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Oaxaca’s state governor, Alejandro Murat, told Milenio Televisión the quake had triggered landslides, cut off road links between some towns and damaged some buildings, including one hospital that had been treating Covid-19 patients. Murat said the sick were being moved elsewhere. But no major buildings in the state capital appeared to have been severely damaged.