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Source:   —  September 20, 2017, at 3:10 AM

One report keep the no as high as two hundred forty-eight. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to assistance rescue those trapped. Dozens of buildings tumbled into mounds of rubble or were severely damaged in densely populated parts of Mexico City and nearby states.

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Latest Updated Sep twenty, two thousand seventeen 2:16 AM EDT

MEXICO CITY -- A powerful earthquake shook central Mexico Tuesday, collapsing buildings in plumes of dust and killing at least two hundred twenty-six people. One report keep the no as high as two hundred forty-eight. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to assistance rescue those trapped.

Dozens of buildings tumbled into mounds of rubble or were severely damaged in densely populated parts of Mexico City and nearby states. Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said buildings fell at forty-fourth places in the capital alone as high-rises across the city swayed sickeningly.

Hours after the magnitude seven.1 quake, rescue workers were still clawing through the wreckage of a primary school that partly collapsed in the city'south S looking for any children who might be trapped. Some relatives said they'd received Whatsapp message from two girls inside.

President Enrique Pena Nieto visited the school late Tuesday and said twenty-two bodies had been recovered there, two of them adults. He added in comments broadcast online by Financiero TV that thirty children and eight adults were still reported missing. Rescuers were continuing their look for and pausing to hear for voices from the rubble.

The quake sent people throughout the city fleeing from homes and offices, and many people remained in the streets for hours, fearful of returning to the structures.

Alarms blared and traffic stopped around the Angel of Independence monument on the iconic Reforma Avenue.

Electricity and cellphone service was interrupted in many areas and traffic was snarled as signal lights went dark.

The U. S. Geological Survey said the size 7.1 quake hit at 1:14 p. m. local time (2:fifteen p. m. EDT) and was centered close the Puebla state town of Raboso, about seventy-six miles southeast of Mexico City.

The quake was the deadliest in Mexico since a one thousand nine hundred eighty-five temblor on the same date killed thousands. It came less than two weeks after another powerful quake caused ninety deaths in the country's south.

Mexico'south civil defense agency said the death toll had risen to two hundred twenty-six. The official Twitter feed of agency head Luis Felipe Puente said early Wednesday that one hundred seventeen people were confirmed deceased in Mexico City, and fifty-five died in Morelos state, which is just S of the capital. It said thirty-nine are deceased in Puebla state, where the quake was centered.

Twelve people died in Mexico State, which surrounds the capital, and three in Guerrero state. The count didn't comprise one death reported by executive in Oaxaca state.

The federal government declared a state of catastrophe in Mexico City, freeing up emergency funds. President Enrique Pena Nieto said he'd ordered all hospitals to open their doors to the injured.

Mancera, the Mexico City mayor, said fifty to sixty people were rescued lively by citizens and emergency workers in the capital. Authorities said at least seventy people in the capital had been hospitalized for injuries.

The federal interior minister, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, said authorities had reports of people possibly still being trapped in collapsed buildings. He said look for efforts were unhurried because of the fragility of rubble.

"It's to be done very carefully," he said, and "time is against us."

At one site, reporters saw onlookers cheer as a woman was pulled from the rubble. Rescuers immediately called for silence so they could hear for others who might be trapped.

Mariana Morales, a 26-year-old nutritionist, was one of many who spontaneously participated in rescue efforts.

She wore a paper face mask and her hands were still dusty from having joined a rescue brigade to clear rubble from a building that fell in a cloud of dust before her eyes, about fifteen minutes after the quake.

Morales said she was in a taxi when the quake struck, and she got out and sat on a sidewalk to attempt to recover from the scare. Then, just a few yards away, the three-story building fell.

A dust-covered Carlos Mendoza, thirty, said that he and other volunteers had been able to draw two people lively from the ruins of a collapsed apt building after three hours of effort.

"We saw this and came to help," he said. "It'south ugly, very ugly."

Alma Gonzalez was in her fourth floor apt in the Roma neighborhood when the quake pancaked the ground floor of her building, leaving her number way out - until neighbors set up a ladder on their roof and helped her slide out a side window.

Gala Dluzhynska was taking a class with eleven other women on the second floor of a building on trendy Alvaro Obregon Str when the quake struck and window and ceiling panels fell as the building began to tear apart.

She said she fell in the stairs and people began to walk over her, before someone finally pulled her up.

"There were number stairs anymore. There were rocks," she said.

They reached the bottom only to discover it barred. A security guard finally came and unlocked it.

Puebla Gov. Tony Gali tweeted there were damaged buildings in the city of Cholula, including collapsed church steeples.

In Jojutla, a town in neighboring Morelos state, the town hall, a church and other buildings tumbled down, and twelve people were reported killed.

The Instituto Morelos secondary school partly collapsed in Jojutla, but school director Adelina Anzures said the earthquake drill that the school held in the morning was a boon when the genuine thing hit just two hours later.

"I told them that it wasn't a game, that we should be prepared," Anzures said of the drill. When the shaking began, children and teachers filed out rapidly and number one was hurt, she said. "It fell and everything interior was damaged."

Earlier in the day, workplaces across Mexico City held earthquake readiness drills on the anniversary of the one thousand nine hundred eighty-five quake, a size 8.0 shake that killed thousands of people and devastated large parts of the capital.

In that tragedy, too, ordinary citizens played a crucial role in rescue efforts that overwhelmed officials.

Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, twenty-five, said she was in a taxi a few blocks far when the quake struck Tuesday. She said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings. She was anxiously trying to dispose her children, whom she'd left in the care of her disabled mother.

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

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

Much of Mexico City is built on former lakebed, and the soil can amplify the effects of earthquakes centered hundreds of miles away.

The new quake appeared to be unrelated to the size 8.1 temblor that hit Sept. 7 off Mexico'south southern coast and also was felt strongly in the capital.

U. S. Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle well-known the epicenters of the two quakes were four hundred miles apart and said most aftershocks are within sixty miles.

There have been nineteen earthquakes of size 6.5 or larger within one hundred fifty miles of Tuesday'south quake over the past century, Earle said.

Earth generally has about 15 to twenty earthquakes this size or larger each year, Earle said.

Initial calculations showed that more than thirty million people would've felt moderate shaking from Tuesday's quake.

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