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Major 7.1 earthquake hits Mexico, more than 140 killed

At least 22 children from one school among those killed in the deadliest tremor to hit the country in 30 years.

southern Mexico

 

A powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake has killed at least 149 people, including 22 pupils from one school in central Mexico, according to officials.

The tremor on Tuesday struck 8km southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla, about 120km from the capital, Mexico City, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Scores of buildings collapsed into mounds of rubble or were severely damaged in densely populated parts of Mexico City and nearby states.

"At the moment..149 [are] deceased," Luis Felipe Puente, director of the government's civil protection service, said on Twitter late on Tuesday.

He said there were 49 deaths in Mexico City.

In Morelos state, directly south of the capital, at least 55 people were killed.

The state of Puebla, where the epicentre of the earthquake struck, reported at least 32 deaths.

At least 10 people died in Mexico state, which lies just to the west of Mexico City, while in Guerrero one person died.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said that among those killed were 22 children from the Enrique Rebsamen School in southern Mexico City, while 38 were still missing.

Javier Trevina, the education secretary, told local news media that eight adults also died when the school collapsed.

Mexico City's international airport suspended operations and was checking facilities for any damage.

Clouds of dust rose from fallen pieces of facades in Mexico City, and local TV footage and social media purportedly showed some buildings with severe damage.

Center of Mexico City right now after 7.4 earthquake. Scary. Hope folks are ok. Video shot by a friend in DF pic.twitter.com/tlYtpEShcB

Miguel Angel Mancera, the mayor of Mexico City, said 44 buildings collapsed in the capital alone.

Rescue workers and residents dug through the rubble of collapsed buildings seeking survivors.

At one site in the Mexico City neighbourhood of Roma, rescue workers cheered as they brought a woman out alive from what remained of a toppled building.

Local media broadcast video of whitecap waves churning the city's normally placid canals of Xochimilco as boats bobbled up and down.

Hours after the quake, rescue workers were still clawing through the wreckage of a primary school that partly collapsed in Mexico City, looking for children who might still be trapped.

Some relatives said they had received WhatsApp messages from two girls inside.

Earlier this month, a powerful 8.1 quake hit southern Mexico, killing at least 98 people.

The worst earthquake in the history of Mexico occurred on September 19, 1985, killing nearly 10,000 people.

Mexico City was among the places that were seriously affected.


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