Mexico earthquake kills at least 32 and sparks mass evacuations
Buildings collapse and power cut for a million people as magnitude 8.1 quake made houses ‘move like chewing gum’
Sam Jones, David Agren and agencies
The strongest earthquake to hit Mexico in a century has left at least 32 people dead, toppling houses, damaging hospitals and government offices, and sparking mass evacuations.
The magnitude 8.1 quake struck off the country’s southern Pacific coast, 100 miles (165km) west of the state of Chiapas just before midnight on Thursday local time.
The governor of Oaxaca said at least 23 people were killed in his coastal state. Civil defence officials said at least seven died in Chiapas and two others in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco.
Manuel Velasco, the governor of Chiapas, said three people had been killed in the San Cristóbal de las Casas municipality, including two women who died when a house and a wall collapsed.
He called on people living near the coast to leave their houses as a protective measure.
“There is damage to hospitals that have lost energy,” he said. “Homes, schools and hospitals have been damaged.”
The Tabasco governor, Arturo Núñez, said the two dead in his state were children. One died after a wall collapsed and the other, a baby, died in a children’s hospital after a power cut stopped electricity to its ventilator.
On Friday morning, Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, tweeted: “Sadly, there are reports that people have died. My deepest condolences to their families.”
The president said at least a million people had been left without electricity after the quake, but power had since been restored to 800,000 of them. He urged people to be vigilant and to check gas supplies as well as walls and columns.
The US Geological Survey recorded at least 20 aftershocks of magnitude 4.0 or greater within about five hours after the main shake, and the president warned that a major aftershock as large as magnitude 7.2 could occur.
In a series of tweets, Peña Nieto said schools would be closed for the day in Mexico City, the state of Mexico, Chiapas, Hidalgo, Veracruz, Guerrero, Tabasco, Oaxaca, Puebla and Tlaxcala. He said the suspension of classes would allow experts to determine the damage to schools.
The Pacific tsunami warning centre said waves as high as three metres could strike the coast but the president sought to allay fears about huge waves rushing towards the coastline, telling the Televisa TV network: “The tsunami risk on the Chiapas coast does not represent a major risk. It’s not very big, it’s not a major worry.”
Rodrigo Soberanes, who lives near San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, told Associated Press his house had “moved like chewing gum” during the quake.
Reports suggested that a hotel in the south of the country was among the buildings that suffered severe damage, and rescuers were searching for trapped people.
People wait on a street in Mexico City after the earthquake. Photograph: Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images
In Mexico City, windows were broken at the airport and power went out in several neighbourhoods.
People in the capital, one of the world’s largest cities, ran out into the streets in their pyjamas after the quake struck, a Reuters witness said. Helicopters hovered overhead a few minutes later, apparently looking for damage to buildings.
Liliana Villa, 35, who had fled her apartment, said: “It felt horrible, and I thought ‘this is going to fall’.”
Luis Carlos Briceño, a 31-year-old architect visiting Mexico City, said: “I had never been anywhere where the earth moved so much. At first I laughed, but when the lights went out I didn’t know what to do. I nearly fell over.”
A video quickly went viral showing the Ángel de la Independencia monument swaying as it was bathed in green light.
The tremor appears to have been stronger than the
magnitude 8.0 earthquake in 1985 that levelled large portions of the capital, killing 5,000 people and destroying 10,000 houses.
Much of Mexico City was built on the soft soil of a former lakebed, leaving it vulnerable to earthquakes. Building codes have been tightened since 1985, and earthquake drills for apartment dwellers and officer workers have become common in recent years.
Public officials were quick to provide updates on damage and give instructions, unlike in 1985 when the country’s politicians went missing in action and residents, many left homeless, fended for themselves and teamed up to pull people out of piles of rubble.
The tsunami warning centre recorded initial waves a metre over tide level off the city of Salina Cruz. It predicted waves of between 30cm and a metre for the Cook Islands, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guatemala and Kiribati.
Guatemala’s president, Jimmy Morales, said he had reports of an unconfirmed death near the border with Mexico, in San Marcos state. “We have reports of some damage and the death of one person, even though we still don’t have details,” he said.
Lucy Jones, a seismologist in California who works with the US Geological Survey, said such a quake was to be expected. “Off the west coast of Mexico is what’s called the subduction zone: the Pacific plate is moving under the Mexican peninsula,” she said.
The Mexican seismological authority said the quake was 19km deep and triggered a series of magnitude 6 aftershocks.
“Chiapas is historically a very seismic state due to the interaction of five tectonic plates,” it said in a report on the earthquake. The state has suffered three tremors above magnitude 7 since 1970, including one on 7 November 2012 that measured 7.3.
El peligroso huracán Irma se dirige a Bahamas y Cuba, dejando devastación a su paso
Irma fue degradado a huracán de categoría 4 “extremadamente peligroso”, con vientos de hasta 241 kilómetros por hora
En su punto más fuerte, Irma alcanzó vientos de 297 kilómetros por hora, más que cualquier otro huracán registrado en la cuenca del Atlántico
Más de 20 personas han muerto tras el paso de Irma por el noreste de las islas del Caribe, como Barbuda y San Martín
(CNN) - El huracán Irma golpeó al norte del Caribe este viernes, dejando daños catastróficos a su paso a medida que se acerca a Florida, en Estados Unidos, donde se cree que podría llegar a Miami este fin de semana.
El poderoso ciclón se agitó sobre el Atlántico entre el sureste de Cuba y las Islas Turcas y Caicos este viernes en la mañana, y se espera ahora que se mueva hacia el centro de Cuba y a las Bahamas.
En su punto más fuerte, Irma alcanzó vientos de 297 kilómetros por hora, más que cualquier otro huracán registrado en la cuenca del Atlántico.
Más de 20 personas han muerto tras el paso de Irma por el noreste de las islas del Caribe, como Barbuda y San Martín. En Puerto Rico, cientos de miles de personas se quedaron sin luz y unas 57.000 personas se quedaron sin agua, según el Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia.
La Cruz Roja calcula que 1,2 millones de personas han sido afectadas por el ciclón y advierte que en total unos 26 millones de personas podrían estar expuestas a vientos destructivos y lluvias torrrenciales en República Dominicana, Haití y Cuba.
Turistas y cientos de miles de residentes ya han sido evacuados de Cuba. Los hoteles de la costa norte de la isla, que para esta época del año suelen estar llenos, este viernes estaban vacíos, según reportó Patrick Oppmann de CNN. Algunos han sido evacuados a refugios contra bombardeos construidos durante la crisis de los misiles de la década de 1960.
Se espera que Irma siga siendo de categoría 4 hasta que toque tierra en Florida, según el CNH.
El centro lanzó alertas de huracán para el sur de Florida este jueves en la noche. Las evacuaciones son obligatorias en varios condados del sur de Florida, donde los residentes comenzaron a huir en masa.
El CNH pronosticó que el ojo del huracán se moverá hacia el oeste, lo que significa que Miami sería una de las ciudades más golpeadas por su paso.
“Este ciclón tienen el potencial de devastar catastróficamente nuestro estado y ustedes deben tomárselo muy seriamente”, advirtió a los ciudadanos el gobernador de Florida Rick Scott.
Florida no es el único estado de Estados Unidos que se prepara para el posible impacto de Irma. Algunos modelos computarizados muestran que Irma también amenaza a Georgia, Carolina del Sur y Carolina del Norte.
Después de Irma, viene José
Pero las islas del Caribe no podrán estar tranquilas tras el paso de Irma, porque ya se acerca a esa región el huracán José, que ya es de categoría 4.
Antigua y Barbuda están bajo alerta por el huracán José, que podría pasar muy cerca de esas islas este sábado.
Northern Oklahoma earthquake upgraded to magnitude 4.3
An earthquake that rattled parts of northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas has been upgraded to magnitude 4.3.
The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported the quake as magnitude 3.9 after it struck at 9:26 p.m. Thursday near Medford, Oklahoma, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of Oklahoma City.
The USGS upgraded the magnitude Friday after further review.
Grant County Emergency Management Director Brandon Fetters called the quake "stout," but said there are no injuries or damage.
Thousands of earthquakes have been recorded in Oklahoma in recent years, with many linked to the underground injection of wastewater from oil and natural gas production operations.
State regulators have directed oil and gas producers to close some wells and reduce injection volumes in others.