Mexico Officials declared Sunday that about 90 people lost their lives as result of last Thursday’s devastating earthquake, which was one of the strongest quakes recorded in the history of the country. Towns and cities are severely affected.

Mexicans fear more collapses and deaths after the earthquake that shook Mexico’s city of Chiapas, but that was widely felt across the country. The situation worsens as many aftershocks keep hitting the country including a magnitude 5.2 jolt earlier this Sunday that led rescue workers to put a pause in their work.

Image credit: EPA / Angel Hernandez / Global News
Image credit: EPA / Angel Hernandez / Global News

“There is damage to hospitals that have lost energy,” said Chiapas Gov. Manuel Velasco “Homes, schools, and hospitals have been damaged.”

There have been nearly 800 aftershocks in Mexico

Last Thursday, in the middle of the night, Mexico was hit by one of the most powerful earthquakes in the country’s southern coast. The magnitude 8.2 earthquake caused the collapse of hundreds of facilities and building and sent many people in their pajamas to the streets, all of them full of panic. At least 60 people were reported dead by the authorities soon after the quake. Only in Juchitan, 37 people were reported dead. Even in Mexico’s Capital, which was more than 650 miles (1,000 kilometers) away, many buildings were destroyed. Rodrigo Soberenes, who survived the quake in San Cristobal de Las Casas in Chiapas, said that his home moved like “chewing gum.”

The government quickly mobilized rescue groups to help the people in the most affected towns. Cargo planes have also flown carrying food and supplies for survivors. Soldiers and police officers have armed with shovels and sledgehammers to help to demolish damaged buildings and to clear up streets.

Image credit: Angel Hernandez / EPA / NBC News
Image credit: Angel Hernandez / EPA / NBC News

The territory continues to be attacked by aftershocks, and some people have refused to re-enter their houses since they prefer to continue to sleep outside. Today, there was a 5.2 aftershock, and according to the authorities, at least 800 aftershocks have been registered since Thursday night. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 60 of these aftershocks have had a magnitude of 4.5 or greater.

This earthquake becomes a new emergency in Mexico, exactly when the country was already facing the devastation and the flood left by Hurricane Katia on the other side of the State. Katia was expected to hit the Gulf Coast in the state of Veracruz late Friday or early Saturday as a category two storm.

A third of Juchitan is uninhabitable

Today, officials raised the national death toll to 90. According to Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, a third of the homes in the city of Juchitan are uninhabitable. This seems to be the most affected city, but the situation is similar in the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, where the quake destroyed thousands of schools, buildings, and homes. According to Oaxaca Governor, Alejandro Murat, there were 71 deaths in that state. Juchitan is located in narrow waist of Oaxaca known as the Isthmus.

In that city, slow-moving funeral processions have also caused interruptions of traffic in intersections as they have converged on the city’s cemeteries. A school gymnasium turned into a temporary hospital and home as the one of the city’s hospital was deeply damaged by the earthquake. Now, in the gymnasium, some patients were in the hospital before the quake took place alongside people who were injured because of the natural disaster.

The situation was described as chaotic, the hospital staff had to take patients outside the damaged hospital. Image credit: EPA / STR / Global News
The situation was described as chaotic, the hospital staff had to take patients outside the damaged hospital. Image credit: EPA / STR / Global News

The situation was described as chaotic, the hospital staff had to take patients outside the damaged hospital, and those who required specialized attention were taken to other facilities. One of the affected people was Selma Santiago’s husband, who had a motorcycle accident right before the earthquake hit. She was taking care of him while he was waiting to be transferred for his surgery.

Many residents of Juchitan gathered to request the military officers to distribute aid packages for many families who didn’t receive them. The army captain begged them to be patient and agreed to take water and aid packages to the neighborhood of the protesters.

In the rest of the country, the devastation is less evident, but it is still an issue. The power was cut to more than 1.8 million people. Schools were closed in 11 states to check their safety.

Many people prefer to stay awake, while some remember the devastation caused by the earthquake of 1985 that was slightly less powerful than last Thursday’s.

This area has been through at less six other earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.0 or greater since 1900. The last quake matched the force of the quake that hit the country in June 1932 about 300 kilometers west Mexico’s City.  Last Thursday’s quake occurred at 11:49 and its epicenter was 102 miles (165 kilometers) west of Tapachula in Chiapas, with a depth of 43.3 miles (69.7 kilometers),

Source: Los Angeles Times