Strong Earthquake hits Mexico

March 12, 2012

A large earthquake has struck near Acapulco on Mexico's Pacific coast.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake had a magnitude of 7.4 and put the epicentre at 15 miles (25km) east of Ometepec, in Guerrero state. Witnesses in the capital, Mexico City, said the tremor sent office workers rushing out onto the streets. Some 500 houses were damaged in Guerrero state, according to the state's governor, local TV reported. Oaxaca state also shook heavily, including with two aftershocks which were reportedly felt as far away as Guatemala City.

The BBC's Will Grant, in Mexico City, says buildings swayed for at least a minute in the capital. A pedestrian bridge reportedly collapsed and crushed a microbus in Mexico City, but there were still no reports of deaths. Office workers and residents were sent running into the streets in wealthy districts and poor neighbourhoods alike, he reports.

Samantha Rodriguez, a 37-year old environmental consultant, was evacuated from the 11th floor of an office block. "I thought it was going to pass rapidly but the walls began to thunder and we decided to get out," she said. Sirens could be heard across the city, and police helicopters are crisscrossing the skies.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard's Twitter account said the water system and other "strategic services" were not experiencing problems and no damage was reported in the central or northern areas of the city. Mobile phone networks have been affected, our correspondent says, and people have had trouble contacting their loved ones.

Gabino Cue, the governor of Oaxaca state, next to Guerrero state, said via Twitter that the quake had caused cracks in school buildings and damaged roofs in one part of the state.

The USGS said the epicentre was 11 miles (18km) underground.

It is still too early to determine what happens next as damage assessments are underway. Please check back to see how the United Church of Christ will respond.

Your prayers are always welcomed.

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