Mexico City shaken by powerful earthquake

The quake sowed panic in the sprawling city of 20 million people, many of whom have memories of the quake 32 years ago that killed some 10,000 people in Mexico City.

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Police officers cordon off an area after a building collapses during a quake in Mexico City play

Police officers cordon off an area after a building collapses during a quake in Mexico City

(AFP)
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A 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook Mexico City on Tuesday, destroying buildings and causing an unknown number of casualties on the anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake.

The quake sowed panic in the sprawling city of 20 million people, many of whom have memories of the quake 32 years ago that killed some 10,000 people in Mexico City.

"I'm so worried. I can't stop crying. It's the same nightmare as in 1985," one resident in a plaza in the capital, Georgina Sanchez, 52, sobbed to AFP.

The US Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 7.1. Mexico's Seismological Institute said it measured 6.8 on its scale, but later revised it to 7.1.

The institute said the quake's epicenter was seven kilometers (four miles) west of Chiautla de Tapia, in the neighboring state of Puebla.

People look through debris of a building that collapsed in a powerful earthquake that shook Mexico City play

People look through debris of a building that collapsed in a powerful earthquake that shook Mexico City

(AFP)

Tuesday's quake occurred hours after authorities had conducted an earthquake drill.

AFP journalists captured images of collapsed buildings, a car crushed by rubble, and debris-strewn streets.

City residents also posted photos online of damage to buildings in their neighborhoods.

Emergency officials warned people not to smoke in the street, warning of possible ruptured gas pipes.

Alfredo Aguilar, a 43-year-old resident, said the quake was "really strong -- buildings started to move."

He added that he saw a woman who fainted. "People started to run."

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