AMN / WEB DESK
At least 250 people were reportedly killed when a powerful seven point one magnitude earthquake struck Mexico, including 21 children crushed beneath an elementary school that was reduced to rubble.
The destruction revived horrific memories in Mexico on the anniversary of another massive quake in 1985, the disaster-prone country’s deadliest ever.
President Enrique Peña Nieto said more than 20 children had died and 30 were missing after a school collapsed.
The 7.1 magnitude quake also caused major damage in neighbouring states.
The tremor struck shortly after many people had taken part in an earthquake drill, exactly 32 years after a quake killed thousands in Mexico City.
The country is prone to earthquakes and earlier this month an 8.1 magnitude tremor in the south left at least 90 people dead.Major Jose Luis Vergara of the Mexican navy said another 30 to 40 people remained trapped inside, while 11 children have been rescued so far.
In addition to Mexico City, people were also killed in Puebla, Morelos, Mexico state and Guerrero, said Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong.
Mexico City’s international airport closed for more than three hours following the quake. The stock market was forced to shut.
Emergency workers, aided by military personnel and volunteers, have been working through the night in the search for people trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings.
At the Enrique Rébsamen school, three people were rescued at about midnight, Reuters news agency reports, adding that one child trapped under the debris was saved after oxygen was supplied through a tube.
Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) reported that at least 209 schools had been affected by the quake, 15 of which have suffered severe damage.
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told TV network Televisa that buildings at 44 locations had collapsed or were badly damaged. These are said to include a six-storey blocks of flats, a supermarket and a factory.