September 20, 2021

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7.1. Magnitude Quake Strikes Mexican City of Acapulco – The New York Times

3 min read

MEXICO CITY — A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near the port city of Acapulco Tuesday night, Mexico’s seismological agency said, shaking the capital, Mexico City, more than 230 miles away. At least one person was killed as a result, the authorities said.

Mexico’s national seismological service said the quake struck about seven miles southwest of Acapulco just before 9 p.m. local time. The service recorded 92 aftershocks in the hours after the quake. Photos from the city shared on social media showed cracked and damaged buildings, fallen lamp posts and streets strewn with broken glass.

The civil protection agency for Guerrero state, home to Acapulco, said the quake had led to power and phone outages. Videos from both Acapulco and Mexico City also showed the night sky lit up with electrical flashes as power lines swayed and buckled.

The Federal Electricity Commission said that 1.6 million users were left without power in Mexico City and the states of Mexico, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Morelos.

In the capital, power lines and buildings swayed for several seconds, and residents rushed outside to seek safe ground. Some neighborhoods in Mexico City were left without power, the police said.

In an interview with a local radio station, Héctor Astudillo, the governor of Guerrero state, said that one person had died from a falling post in the town of Coyuca de Benítez west of Acapulco.

Mr. Astudillo added that there had been reports of falling rocks and landslides, and that walls had fallen down in Chilpancingo, the state’s capital. Many parts of Acapulco were without power late Tuesday evening. “We are trying to continue gathering information,” the governor said.

A representative for the Red Cross in Chilpancingo said it had received no reports of serious injuries. The health secretary for Guerrero state said there had been no hospital admissions as a result of the quake.

The U.S. tsunami warning system issued a warning for Mexico, though the civil protection office for Guerrero state said later that there was no risk of a tsunami. Waves, it said, were expected to be below three feet in height.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake, which it measured at 7.0, was very shallow, only 7.8 miles below the surface, which would have amplified the shaking effect.

However, the authorities across Mexico said that the immediate effects of the quake on infrastructure had been limited.

“There was no serious damage,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in a video posted to Twitter at about 11 p.m. Eastern time, adding that he had spoken to state and local authorities in the affected areas.

The mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, said that the capital’s subway system was back up and running after services were briefly shut down because of the quake. A newly installed cable car in the working-class neighborhood of Iztapalapa, which could be seen swaying violently during the quake in videos shared online, was also back in service, Ms. Sheinbaum said.

The federal electricity commission was working to restore power to neighborhoods that had gone dark because of the quake, the mayor added.

Mexico is no stranger to earthquakes, with residents in the capital accustomed to regular, and occasionally deadly, seismic activity because of the country’s position near colliding sections of the earth’s crust.

Last year, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Pacific coast of Mexico and shook the rural state of Oaxaca, killing at least six people and damaging some 500 homes. This followed a devastating quake in 2017, which toppled buildings and left scores dead, including children who were buried under a collapsed school.

Still, Mexican authorities have improved construction codes and warning systems significantly since the devastating earthquake in 1985 that killed as many as 10,000 people in the Mexican capital, greatly reducing the risks of damage.

The capital’s earthquake warning system appeared to have functioned effectively on Tuesday, with speakers across the city issuing a loud siren and a spoken warning of the quake several seconds before it happened, prompting many to rush outside.

Natalie Kitroeff contributed reporting from Mexico City. Vania Pigeonutt contributed reporting from Chilpancingo.

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