Mexico endures strongest earthquake in centuries

Soldiers remove rubble from a partially collapsed municipal building. (AP Photo)
Soldiers remove rubble from a partially collapsed municipal building. (AP Photo)

By Miguel Gonzalez
Sports Editor

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake impacted off the coast of Chiapas, Mexico, on Thursday, Sept. 8, at midnight, killing 98 people, according to The Guardian.

The Mexican southern states Chiapas and Oaxaca endured most of the devastation. The states have a combined total population of nine million people and are the most impoverished areas in Mexico, according to CNN.

Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat stated that 76 people died and 11,000 homes were destroyed or damaged in Oaxaca. At the same time, approximately 5,000 homes were destroyed in Chiapas, according to The Washington Post.

The earthquake’s impact reached as far as Mexico City, where lamp posts and the Angel of Independence monument shook, according to The New York Times.

The United States Geological Survey reported at least six aftershocks exceeding 5.0 in magnitude. During the initial impact, around 1.85 million homes lost power, but 74 percent of them were restored within hours, according to CNN.

“The power of this earthquake was devastating, but we are certain that the power of unity, the power of solidarity and the power of shared responsibility will be greater,” said Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto as he declared three days of mourning on Friday, Sept. 8, according to the Los Angeles Times.

As a result of the earthquake’s damage, Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department announced that Mexico will be withdrawing aid for Houston, according to ABC.

“Given this situation, the Mexican government will channel all available logistical support to the families and communities that have been affected in Mexico and has informed the Texas and U.S. governments that, unfortunately, on this occasion, it won’t be possible to provide the assistance originally offered,” Mexico’s foreign ministry announced, according to Politico. “This decision is due to the fact that conditions in both countries have changed and that Texas’s need for assistance has fortunately diminished.”

Mexico has not endured a harder earthquake since the 1985 earthquake that rippled Mexico City, according to The New York Times.

The earthquake killed at least 9,500 people, injured 30,000 people, and caused $4 million in infrastructure damage in Mexico City, according to LiveScience.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump offered condolences one week after the earthquake hit and blamed poor phone reception for his timing.

“Spoke to President of Mexico to give condolences on terrible earthquake,” Trump tweeted on Thursday, Sept. 14. “Unable to reach for 3 days b/c of his cell phone reception at site.”

On Saturday, Sept. 9, category one storm Hurricane Katia landed on the coast of Veracruz, Mexico, and killed two people. The Los Angeles Times reported that Hurricane Katia slowed down relief efforts for Chiapas and Oaxaca.