On Sept. 19, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit the Puebla State of Mexico, about 71 miles southeast of Mexico City. The states of Morelos, Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Mexico have also been damaged by the earthquake, the second to hit Mexico since the 1985 Mexico City earthquake that killed nearly 10,000 people. Mexico’s proximity to the North American, Pacific, and Cocos tectonic plates make it prone to earthquakes, although this recent earthquake is particularly devastating because it affected densely populated areas of the country. The shaking in Mexico City was amplified, as the city is built on an old lakebed.
According to Mexico’s civil protection agency, at least 225 people died from the earthquake: 94 deaths in the capital, 71 in Morelos State, 43 in Puebla State, 12 in the State of Mexico, and five in other states; and the death toll is still rising. At least 20 students died when the Enrique Rebsámen School collapsed. Five died in Monterrey Institute of Technology. At least 800 injuries have been reported in Mexico City alone. CNN Español reports four million power outages, including 60% of Morelos State.
Emergency rescuers spent the night clearing debris and finding survivors. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto claims 30 children and eight adults are missing from the Enrique Rebsámen School. Nieto is prioritizing search and rescue operations of people trapped in buildings, although he emphasized the help that citizens need in the coming days and weeks.
The Mexican Federal Government has declared a state of disaster, allowing emergency funds. Mexican Secretary of Education, Aurelio Nuño, suspended classes in affected states. President Trump and former President Obama offered condolences to the U.S.’s southern neighbor.