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Mexico quake toll rises to 61, search and rescue ops underway

Mexico quake toll rises to 61, search and rescue ops underway”

In Juchitan, emergency teams with search dogs found the body of a policeman under the rubble of city hall.

In Tecolutla, a coastal town of 8,000 residents, trees and branches were felled as families hunkered down to weather the storm.

Rescuers managed to extract one and were still working to save the other 18 hours after the quake.

Pope Francis said he was prayingfor those killed and bereaved by the quake.

His blue uniform covered in dust, Vidal Vera, 29, was one of around 300 police officers digging through the rubble.

For the past two decades, Mexico's seismic alert system, known by the initials CIRES, has provided the city with an early warning of disaster, using a hundred sensors placed along its Pacific coast, where the risk of an quake is greatest. "At first I laughed, but when the lights went out I didn't know what to do".

Mexico City escaped major damage, but the quake terrified sleeping residents, many of whom still remember the catastrophic 1985 natural disaster that killed thousands and devastated large parts of the city. It's hard. My sister-in-law's husband died. "We have reports of some damage and the death of one person, even though we still don't have exact details", Mr Morales said.

Authorities say that a hotel in Oaxaca has collapsed, but no one has been reported dead. Another, an infant on a respirator, died after the quake triggered a power outage.

Massive Earthquake Rocks Mexico as the Country Prepares for Hurricane Katia on Gulf Coast

Mexico was hit on Friday by a massive 8.2-magnitude quake, described by the President as the country's strongest in a century, killing at least 15 people and triggering a series of tsunami waves.

Pope Francis, addressing an open air Mass on a visit to Colombia, said he was praying "for those who have lost their lives and their families".

Pena Nieto said more than 770 tremors have been registered in the aftermath of the strongest quake to hit Mexico since 1932.

The quake's epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean, some 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) southeast of Mexico's capital and 74 miles (120 kilometers) off the coast.

In a meeting with local and national neighbors and authorities, the president said that the force of nature can be devastating, but the unity and solidarity of Mexicans are much greater.

The quake struck at 11:49 p.m. Thursday (12:49 a.m. EDT; 4:49 a.m. GMT Friday). Tsunami warnings were issued as far away as New Zealand and Vanuatu.

Mexico sits atop five tectonic plates, making it prone to earthquakes, and has two long coastlines that are frequently battered by hurricanes.



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