Mexico earthquake: Death toll rises to two, 200 buildings damaged

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Mexico’s president says physical damage was reported near the epicenter of Monday’s quake, but is fortunate that the death toll is not high.

The death toll from a powerful earthquake that struck western Mexico on Monday has risen to two, a government official said, as officials take stock of the damage caused by the “cursed” anniversary of the country’s two previous quakes.

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Laura Velazquez, the head of Mexico’s civil protection agency, said on Tuesday that the two deaths in Colima were partly caused by buildings collapsing. Ten people were also injured: nine in Colima and one in neighboring Michoacan.

Velázquez said during a news conference that more than 200 buildings, including dozens of schools and health centers, had been damaged.


Most of the damage was done in the Pacific states of Colima and Michoacan, close to the Michoacan epicenter of the earthquake, which occurred on the same date that the two previous earthquakes devastated Mexico in 1985 and 2017 respectively.

About 20 buildings in Mexico City suffered minor damage, Velázquez said, while 692 aftershocks were recorded since the quake hit, with the strongest being a magnitude 5.8 on Tuesday morning.

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The warning siren for Monday afternoon’s quake came less than an hour after the alarm sounded in a nationwide earthquake simulation marking the two first quakes to hit the same date.

A magnitude 8 earthquake, centered near the coast of Guerrero state, killed at least 9,500 people in 1985, while a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in 2017 killed more than 360.

According to seismologists, the epicenter of Monday’s quake was located near the Pacific coast about 400 km (250 mi) west of the capital Mexico City and 59 km (37 mi) south of Colcomán in the state of Michoacan.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Told There was physical damage near the epicenter of the earthquake, but it was fortunate that the death toll was not high. “It was a shock of great intensity,” he said.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum Told No major damage was reported in the capital. Electricity was off in some parts of the city, however, including stoplights, which brought the capital’s already notorious traffic to a halt.

Experts said that there is no scientific reason for the occurrence of three strong earthquakes in a single day and termed it as a coincidence.

“There is no physical cause or statistical bias towards earthquakes in Mexico in any given month,” said US Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle.

Translation: The earthquake in Mexico was so strong that the roofs of these buildings began to spread, as can be seen in this video.

Zeoli Pérez-Campos, a researcher in the seismology department at the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Geophysical Institute, also said there was no physical reason for the coincidence.

Perez-Campos said Monday’s quake was the result of “the interaction of the Cocos Plate with the North American Plate,” which also caused the 1985 earthquake. The five plates – North America, Pacific, Riviera, Caribbean and Cocos – all fall under Mexican territory.

“The plates break when it’s time for them to break,” Perez-Campos said. “What are they going to know about the calendar?”

But many in Mexico could not fully believe it.

Many people reacted to the latest earthquake meme online, releasing their anxiety and finding the humor in a natural disaster.

“It’s really weird, but a lot of people don’t like that day already,” said George Ornelas, a call center coordinator, after many of his acquaintances start to worry about the September earthquake.

“If we keep thinking that it’s going to shake every September 19th, it’s going to happen every year, because what you think is always going to happen,” Ornellas said.

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