BREAKING: 58 DEAD

Dean James AMERICA’S FREEDOM FIGHTERS –

At least 58 people have died after the most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in a century struck off the southern coast, toppling hotels and houses and prompting tsunami waves and power outages.

The United States Geological Survey said that a magnitude 8.1 quake hit about 73 miles off Tres Picos, Mexico, along Mexico’s southern coast.

The historical earthquake was felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City, was registered off Mexico’s southern coast just as heavy rains from Hurricane Katia lashed the east. The epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean, some 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) southeast of the capital and 74 miles (120 kilometers) off the coast, CNN reported.

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Its epicenter was 102 miles west of Tapachula in southern Chiapas state and had a depth of about 21 miles. The quake was so powerful, it sent people fleeing from buildings 650 miles away in Mexico City, Fox News reports.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said that 62 aftershocks followed the quake and it’s possible one as strong as 7.2 could hit in the next 24 hours.

Nieto said the temblor — felt by about 50 million people across the country — was the strongest earthquake Mexico has experienced in 100 years. In September 1985, a magnitude-8.0 earthquake killed an estimated 9,500 people in and around Mexico City.

This one hit late Thursday, when many people were asleep. The states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, home to about 9 million people, are located closest to the earthquake’s epicenter. They are two of the most impoverished areas in Mexico, and were likely hit the hardest.

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At least 45 people were killed in Oaxaca state, Civil Protection National Coordinator Luis Felipe Puente said on Twitter. Ten others died in Chiapas state and three were killed in Tabasco, he said.

Chiapas’ Gov. Manuel Velasco said the quake damaged hospitals and schools.

One of them was killed when a wall collapsed, and the other was a baby who died in a children’s hospital that lost electricity, cutting off the infant’s ventilator.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center early Friday confirmed tsunami waves in Mexico, with the largest wave so far measuring 2.3 feet.

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Smaller tsunami waves were observed on the coast or measured by ocean gauges in several other places. The center’s forecast said Ecuador, El Salvador and Guatemala could see waves of a meter or less.

Civil protection officials in Mexico were checking for damage in Chiapas, but the quake was so powerful that frightened residents in Mexico City fled apartment buildings, often in their pajamas, and gathered in groups in the street.

Around midnight buildings swayed strongly for more than minute, loosening light fixtures from ceilings. Helicopters crisscrossed the sky above Mexico City with spotlights.

Zhaira Franco, 35, who was in Mexico City, told The New York Times that she heard an alarm for about 30 seconds before feeling the quake. She said her building swayed so much that it hit the building next door.

“The house moved like chewing gum and the light and internet went out momentarily,” said Rodrigo Soberanes, who lives near San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, a poor largely indigenous state popular with tourists.

Civil Defense in Chiapas said on its Twitter account that its personnel were in the streets aiding people and warned residents to prepare for aftershocks. But it made no immediate comment about damage.

Mexico’s strongest earthquake in a century leaves dozens dead !!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpaVrPm5Zq4

The USGS reported a magnitude 5.7 aftershock about 12 minutes later. There have been up to 13 aftershocks.

In neighboring Guatemala, President Jimmy Morales spoke on national television to call for calm while emergency crews checked for damage. Local radio in the Central American country reported one death, but it could not be confirmed.

“We have reports of some damage and the death of one person, even though we still don’t have exact details,” Morales said. He said the possible death occurred in San Marcos state near the border with Mexico.

Lucy Jones, a seismologist in California who works with the U.S. Geological Survey, said such a quake was to be expected.

“Off the west coast of Mexico is what’s called the subduction zone, the Pacific Plate is moving under the Mexican peninsula,” she said. “It’s a very flat fault, so it’s a place that has big earthquakes relatively often because of that.”

“There’s likely to be a small tsunami going to the southwest. It’s not going to be coming up and affecting California or Hawaii,” she said. “For tsunami generation, an 8 is relatively small.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved.

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Dean James III% AMERICA’S FREEDOM FIGHTERS

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