A strong earthquake shook southern and central Mexico on Friday, causing panic less than six months after two devastating quakes that killed hundreds of people.
No buildings collapsed, according to early reports, but two towns near the epicenter in the southern state of Oaxaca reported damage and state authorities said they had opened emergency shelters.
Later in the day, a helicopter on its way to the scene carrying Mexican Minister of the Interior Alfonso Navarrete and the governor of Oaxaca crash landed, killing two people on the ground even as the passengers survived, although some suffered injuries.
Navarrete told the Televisa network the pilot of the military helicopter lost control of the aircraft at a height of about 40m as it was coming in to land.
Mexico’s National Seismological Service and the US Geological Survey put the quake’s magnitude at 7.2.
It triggered Mexico City’s alarm system and caused buildings to sway in the capital.
It was also felt in the states of Guerrero, Puebla and Michoacan.
Panicked residents flooded into the streets, fearing a repeat of the two quakes in September last year that caused buildings to collapse and killed a 465 people.
“To be honest, we’re all pretty upset. We start crying whenever the [earthquake] alarm goes off,” 38-year-old publicist Kevin Valladolid said through tears after evacuating from his building in La Roma, in central Mexico City.
“We’re stressed out, we have flashbacks. So we run out into the street. It’s all we can do,” he said.
On the north side of the city, Julia Hernandez said she felt like she was “in a boat” as the ground swayed beneath her feet.
“Is it ever going to stop?” she said.
Standing in the middle of the street, her eyes glued to her fifth-floor apartment, Graciela Escalante, 72, could hardly speak.
“It was terribly strong. We barely managed to get down the stairs. It was the longest staircase in the world,” she said. “We thought everything was going to collapse again.”
Officials in affected states said they were inspecting buildings damaged by last year’s quakes, which are especially vulnerable to collapse.
“Obviously people are afraid,” Puebla emergency response chief Gustavo Ariza said.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted that the National Emergency Committee had been activated because of the magnitude of the quake.
In Oaxaca, authorities reported some structural damage to buildings in two towns, Pinotepa Nacional and Santiago Jamiltepec.
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera reported “very minor” damage in the capital.
That included reports of a wall that collapsed in the upscale Condesa neighborhood, which was hit hard by last year’s quakes.
Friday’s earthquake struck at a relatively deep 24.7km, the US Geological Survey said, adding that the temblor’s epicenter was 37km northeast of Pinotepa de Don Luis in Oaxaca.
A magnitude 5.9 aftershock hit nearly an hour later.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted