NEWS ALERT: 7.4 earthquake hits near Mexico City. No immediate damage reported.
*UPDATE: International aid has not been requested by Mexico at this time. Operation USA ready to help if that need changes, but at this point all efforts look to be well handled locally.
11:40AM, Tuesday, March 20.
A large earthquake has struck near Acapulco on Mexico’s Pacific coast. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake had a magnitude of 7.4 (downgraded from original report of 7.6) and put the epicentre at 15 miles (525 km) east of Ometepec, in Guerrero state. Witnesses said buildings swayed in the capital, Mexico City, sending office workers rushing out onto the streets. It is not immediately clear whether the earthquake has caused any significant damage.
The BBC, in Mexico City, says buildings swayed for at least a minute. Office workers and residents were sent running into the streets in wealthy districts and poor neighbourhoods alike. Sirens could be heard across the city, and police helicopters are crisscrossing the skies. Mobile phone networks have been affected, correspondent says. Residents in the southwestern states of Oaxaca and Guerrero and the eastern state of Veracruz reported that phone service had been knocked out in their areas.
CNN reports from Mexico City: Mayor Marcelo Ebrard sent tweets saying that there was no visible damage in the capital and that the sprawling city’s strategic services and water system were functioning. Regardless, he tweeted, numerous buildings were being evacuated.
Earthquakes are a frightening experience for the more than 20 million residents of Mexico City, where about 10,000 people perished in a massive quake in 1985. The city, built on volcanic ash and clay, is particularly vulnerable to temblors.
Operation USA has a long history of work in Mexico–and had a significant response to the 1985 quake.