UPDATE: 7.1 magnitude earthquake kills at least 226 people in Mexico

A powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit central Mexico on Tuesday the same day slated for the anniversary of the 1985 8.0 quake which claimed thousands of lives and also making it the 2nd quake in two weeks following an 8.1 quake that rocked south Mexico which killed about 98 people a fortnight ago.

Tuesday quake caused a leveling of several buildings while some were severely damaged in densely populated parts of Mexico City and nearby states and killed at least 226 people, TIME reports.

Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said buildings fell at 44 places in the capital alone as high-rises across the city swayed sickeningly. Thousands fled and remained in the streets in panic and afraid to return to the rumbled structures, while many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

Agency head, Luis Felipe Puente through his Twitter feed said early Wednesday that, 117 people were confirmed dead in Mexico City, and 55 died in Morelos state, which is just south of the capital. It also said 39 are dead in Puebla state, where the quake was centered.

The federal government under President Enrique Pena Nieto has declared a state of disaster in Mexico City and freed up emergency funds. He also said he had ordered all hospitals to open their doors to the injured.

Mexico City mayor, Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa, said 50 to 60 people were rescued alive by citizens and emergency workers in the capital, and also, at least 70 people in the capital had been hospitalized for injuries.

In addition, the federal interior minister, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, said authorities had reports of people possibly still being trapped in collapsed buildings. He added that search efforts were slow because of the fragility of rubble.

“It has to be done very carefully, and time is against us”, Osorio said.

The quake drilling carried out earlier in the day by offices, schools and several buildings to mark the 1985 quake anniversary birthed limited casualties as some people were swift in evacuating buildings when the quake struck.

A vivid evidence of the effect of the drill was seen in the Instituto Morelos secondary school which partly collapsed in Jonathan. School director Adelina Anzures said the earthquake drill that the school held in the morning was a boon when the real thing hit just two hours later.

“I told them that it was not a game, that we should be prepared. When the shaking began, children and teachers filed out rapidly and no one was hurt, she said. It fell and everything inside was damaged”, Anzures said.

The U.S. Geological Survey revealed that the quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and was centered near Raboso in the state of Puebla which is about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

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