A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Mexico City on Tuesday, leveling dozens of buildings and leaving at least 217 people dead in the aftermath. USA Today reports this is the second tremor to strike in 12 days, and resembles a similar quake which devastated the capital city in 1985.
On Tuesday, countless residents took to the streets in an effort to rescue victims trapped within the rubble. Mexico’s Education Department has reported that one of the buildings severely hit was a school. So far 25 bodies have been recovered from the rubble with at least 30 children and eight adults still missing. Damage from the quake has also spread to the surrounding areas, including Cuernavaca, Puebla, and Raboso. USA Today confirmed the US State Department is preparing to give aid as needed,
“In a statement, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert offered condolences ‘to any who were injured or lost loved ones’ on Tuesday. ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Mexico affected by today’s 7.1-magnitude earthquake and other recent natural disasters. We stand ready to provide assistance should our neighbors request our help.’"
“Nauert said the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City stands ready to provide consular assistance to any U.S. citizens affected by the earthquake.”
A report from CNN speculated the earthquake was especially severe due to crumpling (direct crushing) occurring in a downward bending motion of tectonic plates, rather than of the usual movements from which most earthquakes originate. The only real safeguard against such events is to reinforce old buildings and improve construction methods, but these things take time to implement. For now, the population of the area continues to search for affected and missing individuals.
(Image Credit: MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - SEPTEMBER 19: Rescuers work in the rubble after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck on September 19, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. The earthquake caused multiple fatalities, destroyed buildings and knocked out power throughout the capital. Photo by Rafael S. Fabres/Getty Images)