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Earthquake hit Mexico and Hurricane Maria passes through Caribbean

In an eerie order of events, many residents of Mexico City were practicing an earthquake drill just a mere two hours before a powerful 7.1 magnitude quake hit the city and surrounding areas. The drill is done every year as an effort of preparedness after a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck the south-west coast of Mexico on Sept. 19, 1985. Thirty-two years to the day, Mexico is dealing with devastation again as death tolls continue to rise in the city. Over 220 people have died since the quake, with the toll expected to rise in the coming days as many residents help search the rubble of collapsed buildings in the city.

The powerful earthquake struck the southern state of Puebla, 123km from Mexico City. So far, 86 deaths have been reported in Mexico City itself. Over 40 buildings have collapsed, including elementary schools. This is the largest earthquake to strike so close to the country’s capital since the 1985 quake which claimed over 5000 lives. Many volunteers, members of the Navy, and designated rescue workers were working overnight to rescue missing children from the collapsed Enrique Rebsamen school. Many children died when the A Wing of the three-storey building fell down.

Just two weeks ago, another fatal earthquake hit the south of Mexico, where it claimed the lives of 70 people. That earthquake registered at a magnitude of 8.2 near rural communities in Oaxaca state. With only two weeks apart, these devastating earthquakes have already claimed too many lives. Geophysicists from the US Geology Survey have determined that both earthquakes were a result of a rupture in the fault lines in North American tectonic plates. Mexico City is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, and according to geologists it is at risk because of that location. Mexico is located in an area known as the Pacific Ring of Fire which contains the most active volcanoes. According to Hongfeng Yang, a seismologist from the University of Hong Kong, almost 80 per cent of the world’s earthquakes strike in the Ring of Fire.

The tremors in the city were said to last up to seven minutes and so far there have been 11 aftershocks reported 11, with the strongest one carrying a magnitude of 4.0

Hurricane Update:

Hurricane Maria is still causing destruction in the Caribbean, with 90 per cent of the buildings in Dominica absolutely totalled.

Maria has made landfall in Puerto Rico. With winds of over 150mph, this storm will prove to be even more catastrophic than Hurricane Irma, which damaged parts of the country just last week. Many of these caribbean countries were still recovering from the last two hurricanes to hit and now many in Puerto Rico are dealing with storm surges, intense flash flooding, and power outages. So far, over 900,000 residents have lost power. Maria made landfall near the city of Yabucoa with the strength of a Category 4 storm. The storm has also ruined two National Weather Service radars on the island. Maria is the first hurricane in over 80 years with a category 4 strength to hit the island.

So far Maria has killed nine people in the Caribbean and is expected to make its way past Turks and Caicos before weakening out at sea. Tropical storm Lee, which was following the path of Maria, has died down to a tropical depression and has almost completely disappeared and is causing no threat to the Caribbean.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those being affected during this difficult time.

Update 1:56 PM Wednesday

Officials from the Puerto Rico Office of Emergency Management Agency said that Puerto Rico has lost 100 per cent power on the island and that anyone with electricity is using a generator. So far Hurricane Maria has caused severe damage to infrastructure. Maria is forecasted to approach north of Punta Cana in the Dominican republic overnight and  by Thursday afternoon make its way through Turks and Caicos