MEXICO CITY – At least 139 people were killed when a strong earthquake struck central Mexico on Tuesday.
The USGS has given an “orange alert”, warning of “significant” shaking-related fatalities of up to about 1,000 people are likely.
It has issued a “red alert” for the earthquake’s likely economic impact.
The capital’s airport suspended operations after the 7.1 magnitude quake, and buildings across the city were evacuated.
People were feared trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings as rescue teams rushed to the hardest-hit areas.
Tuesday’s earthquake came less than two weeks after another strong 8.1 magnitude quake left 90 dead in the country’s south, and it occurred as Mexicans commemorated the anniversary of a 1985 quake that killed over 10,000 people.
The epicentre of the quake was next to Atencingo in Puebla state, some 120km (75 miles) from Mexico City, with a depth of 51km, the US Geological Survey said.
The highest death toll was in the state of Morelas, where at least 64 people have died. Another 36 deaths have been reported in Mexico City, at least nine in neighbouring Mexico state, and 29 in the state of Puebla to the south.
At least 27 buildings collapsed in Mexico City, President Enrique Peña Nieto said, urging people to avoid the streets so emergency services could easily reach the most affected areas.
Phone lines were down in parts of the capital, and 3.8 million people were without power in affected areas.
US President Donald Trump tweeted: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.”
Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered “our friends” in Mexico his country’s help.
Calling the quake in central Mexico “devastating,” Trudeau said on Twitter that his thoughts are with those affected by the disaster.
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