Huge Earthquake Rocks Mexico City
The death toll continues to rise following a massive 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Mexico City Tuesday afternoon, collapsing buildings, killing at least 217 people and trapping an unknown number of others in the wreckage.
The head of Mexico's civil defense agency, Luis Felipe Puente, said on Twitter 86 deaths were reported in Mexico City, 71 deaths in Morelos state, 43 in Puebla state, 12 in Mexico state, four in Guerrero state and one in Oaxaca.
The epicenter of the quake was in Puebla, 123 kilometers southeast of Mexico City.
President Enrique Pena Nieto visited a school in the capital city that collapsed, one of dozens of buildings that fell due to the shaking. Mexico's education secretary, Aurelio Nuno, said 25 people were killed at the school, while 11 others were rescued and 30 were missing.
Pena Nieto also issued a video address saying the government's priorities are rescuing those trapped by the earthquake and getting medical aid to the injured. He expressed condolences to those who lost a loved one and said Mexico shares in their grief.
Local media reported extensive damage, power outages and fires throughout Mexico City, one of the most populous urban areas in the world.
Civilians as well as search and rescue teams went to work trying to find survivors using heavy machinery and bare hands to remove piles of rubble.
U.S. President Donald Trump sent a message of support for Mexico from New York, where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly.
Trump tweeted: "God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you."
Mexican authorities suspended operations at the international airport and closed schools.
The quake hit less than two weeks after another earthquake killed more than 90 people in the country's south. The U.S. Geological Survey said the two quakes appeared to be unrelated.
USGS seismologist Paul Earle said the two epicenters are 650 kilometers apart and most aftershocks are within 100 kilometers.
Tuesday's earthquake was centered near the town of Raboso, in Puebla state. It hit at 1:14 p.m., local time. Puebla Governor Tony Gali reported there also was significant damage in the nearby city of Cholula, where collapsed church steeples fell into the streets.
The earthquake struck exactly 32 years after an 8.0 temblor killed nearly 10,000 people in and around Mexico City.
Hurricane Maria Takes Aim at Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
Hurricane Maria pounded the U.S. Virgin Islands late Tuesday and into Wednesday on its way to Puerto Rico.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the outer edge of the storm's eye was lashing the island of St. Croix as Maria carried maximum sustained winds of about 280 kilometers per hour and rains that forecasters say will cause life-threatening flash floods and landslides.
The NHC said the storm is "potentially catastrophic" and is expected to remain a dangerous Category 4 or 5 hurricane as its center goes directly across Puerto Rico by Wednesday night.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said "major damage is inevitable" in the U.S. territory and that officials had set up 500 shelters.
U.S. President Donald Trump has issued state-of-emergency declarations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and authorized the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all relief efforts.