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Selasa, 23 Juni 2020

Tsunami alert after powerful earthquake shakes southern, central Mexico - Sydney Morning Herald

The fatalities were near the quake's epicentre in Oaxaca, a mountainous state known for its coffee, mescal and Spanish colonial architecture.

Rockfalls blocked the winding mountain roads between the state capital of Oaxaca City and the coast. A clinic and other buildings in hill villages near the epicentre were severely damaged, images on social media showed.

Medical staff and patients gathered outside Alvaro Obregon Hospital in Mexico City during the earthquake.

Medical staff and patients gathered outside Alvaro Obregon Hospital in Mexico City during the earthquake.

Photo: Bloomberg

Buildings hundreds of miles away in Mexico City shook strongly and people ran out into the streets when an early warning seismic alarm sounded. Videos on social media showed water that apparently came from rooftop pools cascading down residential buildings.

The quake triggered a small tsunami on the Oaxaca coast but there were no immediate signs of casualties. The country's seismological service said the sea level rose 60 centimetres at Huatulco beach, normally a popular destination for US and Canadian tourists but quieter now due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Miguel Candelaria, 30, was working at his computer in his family home in the Oaxaca town of Juchitan when the ground began to tremble. He ran outside with relatives, but they had to stop in the middle of the street as the pavement buckled and rocked.

"We couldn't walk... the street was like chewing gum," said Candelaria, 30.

A policeman removes rubble from a building damaged by an earthquake in Oaxaca.

A policeman removes rubble from a building damaged by an earthquake in Oaxaca.

Photo: AP

Neighbours screamed in terror and some shouted out warnings to run from the electricity poles that looked poised to fall, said Candelaria, who works in telecommunications marketing.

Quakes of magnitudes over 7 are major earthquakes capable of widespread, heavy damage. A 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck central Mexico in 2017 killed 355 people in the capital and the surrounding states.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had warned that the Pacific coasts of Mexico and Central and South America faced a possible tsunami but later said the danger had passed.

People brace themselves against a wall in Mexico City during the earthquake.

People brace themselves against a wall in Mexico City during the earthquake.

Photo: AP

Helicopters flew over downtown Mexico City and police patrols sounded their sirens after the earthquake struck.

The city's mayor said there were two people injured there but no major damage from the quake, which hit as millions of people were at home in lockdown due to the coronavirus.

The US Geological Survey said the epicentre of Tuesday's quake was located 69 km (43 miles) northeast of the town of Pochutla. It was very shallow, only 26 km (16 miles) below the earth's surface, which would have amplified the shaking.

The USGS estimated that some 2 million people felt strong or moderate shaking and another 49 million felt weak or light shaking.

The quake was felt in Guatemala and throughout south and central Mexico.

Near the epicentre, Magdalena Castellanos Fermin was in the village of Santiago Astata when the quake struck, sending large rocks tumbling down from the hillside and alarming residents.

"It was really intense, really strong," she said.

In Huatulco, a laid-back beach destination known for surfing and small protected coves, the earthquake knocked goods off shelves and some rubble from buildings.

Mari Gonzalez of the Princess Mayev hotel in Huatulco said staff and guests were able to evacuate the building before the quake, but that 45 minutes after the initial quake they were still outside as strong aftershocks continued.

"It was strong, very strong," she said.

Gonzalez said there was some visible broken glass and mirrors, but no major damage. Staff were waiting for the aftershocks to dissipate before fully evaluating the property.

Local news media also reported damage to some buildings in the state capital, Oaxaca City.

Alberto Ibanez, a photographer in Oaxaca City, said the quake left a crack in an internal wall in his apartment and knocked books and pots off shelves.

"Everybody fled into the street, it was really strong," Ibanez said.

Situated at the intersection of three tectonic plates, Mexico is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries. The capital is seen as particularly vulnerable due to its location on top of an ancient lake bed.

Reuters, AP with staff reporters

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2020-06-23 20:46:05Z
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