At least 15 killed as powerful natural disaster rocks Mexico

At least 15 killed as powerful natural disaster rocks Mexico

Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto said schools would be closed for the day in Mexico City, the state of Mexico, Chiapas, Hidalgo, Veracruz, Guerrero, Tabasco, Oaxaca, Puebla and Tlaxcala.

A rare and powerful 8.4-magnitude natural disaster struck southern Mexico late Thursday, killing at least two people as seismologists warned of a tsunami of more than three meters (10 feet). Nieto has warned that aftershocks could be as strong as 7.2, and U.S.G.S. has recorded 20 aftershocks higher than 4.0, Reuters reports.

A similar quake in 1985 killed thousands of people in Mexico, however, the impact of the latest one is said to be greater. More than five-thousand homes were completely destroyed in Mexico city alone and since the 8.1 magnitude quake struck, there have been more than 300 aftershocks felt.

The quake's epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean, some 600 miles southeast of Mexico City and 74 miles off the Pacific coast.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning System said that hazardous tsunami waves were possible on the Pacific Coasts of Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras, within three hours. Buildings were immediately shaken by this natural disaster.

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Two children were reported dead by The Associated Press in Tabasco, the state just north of Chiapas.

"It was a major quake in scale and magnitude, the strongest in the past 100 years", President Peña Nieto said in an address from the National Disaster Prevention Centre's headquarters, where he was supervising the emergency response.

The worst-hit city was Juchitan, on the narrow waist of Oaxaca known as the Isthmus, where 36 quake victims died.

Mexican officials said Friday at least 32 people had died. "I almost fell over", Luis Carlos Briceno, 31, an architect who is visiting Mexico City, told Reuters. At first I laughed, but when the lights went out I didn't know what to do.

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