Strong quake shakes Mexico, no major damage

People gather on Paseo de la Reforma avenue, after being evacuated from their buildings. — Reuters picPeople gather on Paseo de la Reforma avenue, after being evacuated from their buildings. — Reuters picMEXICO CITY, April 12 — A strong earthquake hit western Mexico yesterday, shaking buildings as far away as the capital and sending people rushing out of offices onto the streets, though there were no reports of major damage.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said on his Twitter account there were no initial signs of serious damage and that key services in the capital, including its subway system and the international airport, were operating normally.

“There was a nasty crunching sound in my bathroom and everything moved,” said Adela Arceo, who was looking after two young children in the central Roma neighbourhood of Mexico City.

There were no initial reports of casualties.

The US Geological Survey said the 6.5 magnitude quake struck in the western state of Michoacan at a depth of 20km. The epicentre was 384km west-southwest of Mexico City. The USGS earlier estimated the strength of the quake at 7.0 magnitude and said it was deeper.

Emergency services in Michoacan and in the neighbouring state of Guerrero, which has been hit by a series of recent quakes, reported no major problems yesterday.

“You could feel it, but there’s no major damage,” said Agustin Lule, a spokesman for fire services in Uruapan, a town in Michoacan near the epicentre of the quake. “There are no reports, no emergency calls.”

Reuters reporters in coastal areas of Guerrero and neighbouring Oaxaca state said there was no damage.

The Honolulu-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said it had not issued a tsunami warning, but staff oceanographer David Walsh noted the quake was close to water, big enough and potentially deep enough to cause one.

It was the third big earthquake to hit Mexico in less than a month. A 7.4 magnitude quake struck on March 20, damaging hundreds of buildings in the southwest. That was followed by dozens of aftershocks.

Earlier yesterday, an 8.7 magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia, raising fears of a huge tsunami like the one that battered the Indian Ocean rim in 2004, but authorities said there were no reports suggesting a major threat. — Reuters


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