A strong earthquake shook southern Mexico on Saturday morning, the third temblor to hit the country this month.
The latest quake sent shock waves hundreds of miles out from its epicenter to Mexico City, causing buildings to sway and raising alarm in the capital still reeling from Tuesday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake that Mexican officials say has killed at least 300 people.
Once the shaking stopped, rescuers in Mexico City resumed searches inside collapsed buildings where people may still be buried alive.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who declared three days of national mourning after the devastating seismic event, has said saving lives is the top priority and search and rescue efforts will be ongoing as long as survivors are believed to be beneath the rubble.
The earthquake on Saturday morning occurred around around 7:53 a.m. CT and had a 6.1 magnitude, according to the United States Geological Survey. It was centered about 11 miles south-southeast of Matias Romero in Oaxaca state, a region worst hit by the first earthquake this month — an 8.1 magnitude temblor on Sept. 7 that killed at least 90 people.
So far, Saturday’s quake caused the greatest damage to the Ixtaltepec bridge in Oaxaca, which needs to be rebuilt, as well to structures already damaged from previous quakes, according to Pena Nieto.
On Thursday, Pena Nieto said search and rescue efforts in Mexico City were ongoing at 38 buildings damaged from Tuesday’s massive quake. But it was unclear Saturday how many collapsed buildings may contain survivors.
The powerful quake struck Tuesday afternoon, just hours after the region engaged in earthquake drills on the 32nd anniversary of a 1985 temblor that claimed thousands of lives in Mexico. It was centered near Raboso in Puebla state, some 75 miles southeast of Mexico City, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The disaster caused extensive damage across Mexico, leveling at least 44 buildings in the capital alone, including homes, schools and office buildings. Further southwest, in the Santiago Niltepec municipality of Oaxaca, more than 1,600 homes sustained damage — 1,000 of which will have to be rebuilt because they are uninhabitable, according to Pena Nieto.