Strong Quake Rattles Mexico

A powerful 6.7 magnitude earthquake shook Mexico, killing at least two people, knocking out lights in parts of the capital and sending people rushing into the streets.

There were no immediate reports of severe damage or injuries in Mexico City but emergency services said one person was killed when a house collapsed in Iguala, a small city between the capital and the tourist resort of Acapulco.

Another person was killed when a rock fell on a small van on the Mexico City-Acapulco highway.

“I was dreadfully afraid, I thought it was never going to end,” said Laura Gonzalez, who was drinking in a bar in the capital at the time of the quake, which lasted 40 seconds.

A severe earthquake in 1985 killed thousands of people and wrecked parts of Mexico City, and many residents live with the fear of a repeat.

“I was on the fifth floor when I felt it. It was a very strong shake,” said Amor Lajud. “My dogs started barking. I just rushed out for the exit and got out.

Lajud lives in an apartment building in the fashionable Condesa neighbourhood of Mexico City, which suffered serious damage in the 1985 quake.

Shoppers at a popular department store in the Condesa district rushed out to the street, some of them crying and shouting, and traffic lights were out at several intersections, causing traffic jams.

The epicentre of the quake was in the south-western state of Guerrero, 45 kilometres from Iguala, and was 64km deep, the US Geological Survey reported. It was felt in other states including Michoacan, Puebla and Hidalgo, local media reported.

“The most damage was in Iguala because the epicentre was very close to there,” a spokesperson for Guerrero emergency services said.

Landslides had closed highways in the Pacific coast state but the duty fire officer in Acapulco said that while residents of the port city felt the earthquake, there were no reports of damage.

Power was knocked out in many districts of the capital and one building was evacuated, but Mexico City mayor Marcelo Ebrard said water services, the subway and the airport were working normally.

“The city centre is fine, there are people skating on the ice rink,” Mexico City emergency services spokesman Manuel Mondragon said of the winter entertainment set up in the central Zocalo square.

“At the moment, there is no reason for concern.”

State oil monopoly Pemex, which has few installations on the Pacific coast, said there were no reports of damage.

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