MEXICO – The death toll from the powerful 8.1 magnitude earthquake that jolted the southern coast of Mexico late Thursday, rose to 61 with relief operations still underway.
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The epicenter of tremors declared strongest in a century to hit the region was in the Pacific Ocean, some 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) southeast of the capital and 74 miles (120 kilometers) off the coast.
The worst-hit states include Tabasco, Oaxaca, and Chiapas were residents are feared trapped under the rubble.
President Peña Nieto has declared a day of mourning, saying flags would fly at half mast out of respect for the dead and bereaved.
“45 deaths had been reported in Oaxaca, 12 in Chiapas and four in Tabasco” said Nieto and added that they were assessing the damage, which will probably take hours, if not days.
The shake that stirred panic among Mexicans triggered a tsunami warning and the evacuation of thousands of people in coastal communities in Chiapas, however, the warning was later lifted.
Chiapas officials said that more than 400 houses had been destroyed and about 1,700 others damaged.
The earthquake was more powerful than the 1985 tremor that hit close to Mexico City and caused thousands of deaths.
Videos posted on social media show the severity of earthquake:
Dramatic footage of the 8.2 magnitude earthquake which struck Mexico – the strongest in a century pic.twitter.com/jN5MheQwvF
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) September 8, 2017
— Edgardo Mendoza V. (@EdgardoMendozaV) September 8, 2017