Powerful Earthquake Roils Central Mexico, Leaving At Least 42 People Dead | WBEZ
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Powerful Earthquake Shakes Mexico On 32nd Anniversary Of Deadly Temblor

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Thirty-two years to the day after an earthquake killed thousands of people in Mexico, a powerful quake rattled the country's central region Tuesday. Buildings shivered in Mexico City, shattering facades and sending clouds of dust skyward.

Residents who just hours before had taken part in large simulated earthquake drills to mark the anniversary emptied into the streets when the real quake struck.

In its preliminary assessment, the U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 earthquake's epicenter was just over 3 miles east-northeast of Raboso, in the state of Puebla some 75 miles southeast of Mexico City.

At least 42 people were killed in the neighboring state of Morelos, according to a report issued by Gov. Graco Ramirez. It was not immediately clear how many others had died in the surrounding areas.

"I could barely stand up. There was glass falling everywhere. I really thought the building was going to fall," reporter Emily Green told NPR from Mexico City. "It was a terrifying experience."

Photographs depicted rescue workers wheeling away residents on stretchers, though it was not immediately clear how many people were injured or if anyone had died in the earthquake.

Videos purported to show buildings shaking under the strain, including a whole office building in the neighborhood of Roma Norte.

"We don't have an estimate yet from authorities of how many buildings — but just photos and videos from people in the street show there are many buildings collapsed so far," reporter James Fredrick told NPR. "The civil protection agency of Mexico City has confirmed that they're beginning excavation work for people trapped inside collapsed buildings."

Another problem loosed by the quake: Gas leaks have been reported across the city, some of which have already resulted in fires, according to Fredrick.

The earthquake also comes less than two weeks after a massive temblor struck southern Mexico, killing dozens of people.

The 1985 earthquake that officials were marking Tuesday left thousands dead and parts of Mexico City in ruins. Univision's Enrique Acevedo noted that a national earthquake drill was scheduled for 1 p.m. local time.

"There are lots of people on the street and folks crying, a little bit beside themselves," Green said.

This is a developing story. Some things that get reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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