149 dead after powerful quake in Mexico

At least 21 children and four adults have died at the Enrique Rebsámen elementary school, the public education undersecretary has confirmed.

Rescuers search for survivors amid the rubble of a collapsed building after the powerful quake in Mexico City. Photograph- Alfredo Estrella:AFP:Getty ImagesRescuers search for survivors amid the rubble of a collapsed building after the powerful quake in Mexico City. Photograph: Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images

Mexico’s president has issued a video statement urging people to stay calm in the aftermath of the powerful magnitude 7.1 earthquake that toppled dozens of buildings in Mexico City and in nearby states.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said in the message issued late Tuesday night that many people will need help, but the initial focus has to be on finding people trapped in wrecked buildings.

In his words, “The priority at this moment is to keep rescuing people who are still trapped and to give medical attention to the injured people.”

Pena Nieto said that as of late Tuesday 40 percent of Mexico City and 60 percent of Morelos state have no electricity.

The earthquake occurred just two weeks after a magnitude 8.1 tremor in the south of the country caused more than 90 dead and caused buildings in Mexico City to sway for more than a minute. Tuesday was also the 32nd anniversary of the devastating 1985 earthquake that killed thousands of people in the capital.

Buildings collapsed, including the town hall and local church, in the town of Jojutla in southern Morelos state, which was close to the epicenter of Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 quake. Twelve people died in the town.

The Instituto Morelos secondary school partly collapsed, but school director Adelina Anzures said the earthquake drill the school held in the morning came in handy just two hours later when the real quake struck.

“I told them that it was not a game, that we should be prepared,” Anzures said of the drill. When the quake came, she said the children and teachers rapidly filed out.

“It fell and everything inside was damaged,” she said. Nobody was hurt.

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