(Vatican Radio) A huge earthquake, with a magnitude of 8.1, struck Mexico Friday morning. Dozens of people have been reported killed, and the death toll continues to climb.
James Blears reports it shook Mexico City for more than a minute, causing buildings to sway and sending tens of thousands of people on to the streets in their pyjamas:
The earthquake, with an epicentre off the Pacific coast of Chiapas State, struck just before midnight local time. It's caused severe structural damage in the States of Chiapas, Tabasco and Oaxaca. But it was so powerful, it shook up Mexico City, 165 km to the north. Windows shattered in the International Airport, and the special quake alarm sounded, prompting thousands to escape from their homes on to the streets.
A tsunami alert has been activated and extends to Guatamala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.
Structural lessons have been learned since the devastating earthquake – which also measured 8.1 magnitude – on 19 September 1985, which killed more than 10,000 people in and around Mexico City. Buildings are now designed with steel structures to sway, but not implode and crumble.