The death toll from a powerful earthquake that rocked Mexico on Tuesday has surged to 224 people, including 117 in the capital, said Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong.
The dead included at least 21 children crushed beneath a primary school that collapsed on Mexico City’s south side during the 7.1-magnitude quake, authorities said.
The destruction revived horrific memories in Mexico on the anniversary of another massive quake in 1985, the disaster-prone country’s deadliest ever.
One of the most gut-wrenching scenes was at the Enrique Rebsamen primary school on Mexico City’s south side, whose three floors collapsed into one, trapping students and teachers inside.
Twenty-one children and four adults were killed, said deputy education minister Javier Trevino. President Enrique Pena Nieto, who rushed to the site, warned the death toll could rise.
“There are 30 children and eight adults still missing. Rescue operations are ongoing,” he told journalists. Local media reports said soldiers had located one child alive beneath the ruins. They administered oxygen through a tube, but were so far unable to extract him.
The devastation struck across a swath of central states. There were 49 dead in Mexico City, 32 in Puebla, 55 in Morelos, 12 in Mexico state and one in Guerrero, said Luis Felipe Puente, head of the disaster management agency.
Rescue crews and volunteers in Mexico City clawed through the rubble of at least 49 collapsed buildings looking for survivors and bodies. Local media reported that families were getting WhatsApp messages pleading for help from desperate relatives trapped under debris. (AFP)