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Twin emergencies shake Mexico

  • An altar to the Virgin of Guadalupe is covered with fallen debris inside the earth-damaged home where Larissa Garcia, 24, lived with her family in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The family was caught under rubble when the house partially collapsed, leaving Garcia with a broken arm and her father with a head injury. Her mother, who had to be pulled out from underneath a foot-thick section of wall which collapsed on her back, remains in a wheelchair and unable to walk. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) Rebecca Blackwell

  • Neighbors look at a home destroyed by a massive earthquake, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The 8.1 quake off the southern Pacific coast just before midnight Thursday toppled hundreds of buildings in several states. Hardest-hit was Juchitan, where a third of the city's homes collapsed or were uninhabitable. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) Rebecca Blackwell

  • Residents fearing aftershocks sleep on stoops outside their earthquaked-damaged homes in central Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. This was one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in Mexico and it struck off the country's southern coast, toppling hundreds of buildings and sending panicked people fleeing into the streets in the middle of the night. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) Rebecca Blackwell

  • A collapsed home is seen after it was hit by a powerful earthquake in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. This was the most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in one hundred years. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez) Felix Marquez

  • Residents walk past boats that were moved on land in preparation for the expected arrival of Hurricane Katia, in Tecolutla, Veracruz state, Mexico, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Hurricane Katia in the Gulf of Mexico is stationary north-northeast of Veracruz and forecasters didn't expect much movement overnight. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo) Eduardo Verdugo

  • Rescuers sift through the rubble of the partially collapsed city hall in Juchitan , Oaxaca state, Mexico, following a massive earthquake, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Police at the scene said rescuers were searching for a policeman they believed to be trapped under the rubble. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) Rebecca Blackwell

  • A group of friends and neighbors fearing aftershocks prepare to sleep on stoops and in the street outside their earthquaked-damaged homes in central Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. This was one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in Mexico and it struck off the country's southern coast, toppling hundreds of buildings and sending panicked people fleeing into the streets in the middle of the night. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) Rebecca Blackwell

  • Family members carry a coffin containing the body of 15-year-old Anahi Cruz Hernandez on Friday. Hernandez, along with her brother and mother, died after a powerful earthquake hit Southern Mexico, in San Cristobal, Chiapas State, Mexico. AP

  • A woman walks through the earthquake damaged 17th century Templo del Senor del Calvario church in Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas state, Mexico, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Community members who were onsite removing and protecting the church's religious icons and objects said the structure had been repaired after an earthquake one year ago, but that damage from Thursday's tremor might be too much to repair.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) Rebecca Blackwell

  • Debris lies inside the earthquake damaged 17th century Templo del Senor del Calvario church in Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas state, Mexico, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Community members who were onsite removing and protecting the church's religious icons and objects said the structure had been repaired after an earthquake one year ago, but that damage from Thursday's tremor might be too much to repair.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) Rebecca Blackwell

  • People walk past the earthquake damaged 17th century Templo del Senor del Calvario church in Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas state, Mexico, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Community members who were onsite removing and protecting the church's religious icons and objects said the structure had been repaired after an earthquake one year ago, but that damage from Thursday's tremor might be too much to repair.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) Rebecca Blackwell

  • Evacuated patients lie on their hospital beds at a sports venue used as shelter and a makeshift hospital in the aftermath of a massive earthquake, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. One of the most powerful earthquakes ever to strike Mexico hit off its southern Pacific coast, killing at least 35 people, toppling houses, government offices and businesses. (AP Photo/Luis Alberto Cruz) Luis Alberto Cruz

  • A woman hugs her pet as residents sleep in a shelter, in the aftermath of a massive earthquake, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, late Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. The 8.1 quake off the southern Pacific coast just before midnight Thursday toppled hundreds of buildings in several states. Hardest-hit was Juchitan, where a third of the city's homes collapsed or were uninhabitable. (AP Photo/Luis Alberto Cruz) Luis Alberto Cruz



Associated Press
Saturday, September 09, 2017

One of the most powerful earthquakes ever to hit Mexico was followed by a Gulf C–oast hurricane, dealing a one-two punch to the country that killed at least 67 people as workers scrambled Saturday to respond to the twin national emergencies.

The 8.1 quake off the southern Pacific coast just before midnight Thursday toppled hundreds of buildings in several states. Hardest-hit was Juchitan, Oaxaca, where 36 people died and a third of the city’s homes collapsed or were uninhabitable, President Enrique Pena Nieto said late Friday in an interview with the Televisa news network.

In downtown Juchitan, the remains of brick walls and clay tile roofs cluttered streets as families dragged mattresses onto sidewalks to spend a second anxious night sleeping outdoors. Some were newly homeless, while others feared further aftershocks could topple their cracked adobe dwellings.

“We are all collapsed, our homes and our people,” said Rosa Elba Ortiz Santiago, 43, who sat with her teenage son and more than a dozen neighbors on an assortment of chairs. “We are used to earthquakes, but not of this magnitude.”

Even as she spoke, across the country, Hurricane Katia was roaring onshore north of Tecolutla in Veracruz state, pelting the region with intense rains and maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.

Veracruz Gov. Miguel Angel Yunes said two people died in a mudslide related to the storm, and he said some rivers had risen to near flood stage, but there were no reports of major damage.

Veracruz and neighboring Puebla states evacuated more than 4,000 people ahead of the storm’s arrival.

The Hurricane Center said Katia could still bring 3 to 6 inches of additional rain to a region with a history of deadly mudslides and flooding.

Pena Nieto announced Friday that the earthquake killed 45 people in Oaxaca state, 12 in Chiapas and 4 in Tabasco, and he declared three days of national mourning. The toll included 36 dead in Juchitan, located on the narrow waist of Oaxaca known as the Isthmus, where a hospital and about half the city hall also collapsed into rubble.

Pena Nieto said authorities were working to re-establish supplies of water and food and provide medical attention to those who need it. He vowed the government would help rebuild.

“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,” he said.