Mexico City, Mexico — A tsunami warning has been issued after an 8.2 earthquake hits Mexico’s Pacific, killing 15.
President Enrique Peña Nieto is calling the earthquake the strongest in a century after the 8.2 quake struck off the Pacific coast at 11:50 p.m. Thursday night. The earthquake hit 87 kilometers (54 miles) southwest of Pijijiapan in the Gulf of Tehuantepec not far from the Guatemalan border.
Mexico’s president said the tremors were felt as far away as 1,000 kilometers from the epicenter, including Mexico City where buildings swayed and people ran into the streets. He said that approximately 50 million people would have felt the tremor, which so far, has left 15 dead noting that number could rise.
Extensive damage has been reported in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, where so far, four deaths have been confirmed. Two children have also been reported among the death toll in the state of Tobasco. At least one person has died from the earthquake in Guatemala.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) said that tsunami waves “reaching more than three meters above the tide level are possible along the coasts of Mexico”, issuing a tsunami warning for the country.
There is also a coastal evacuation in Chiapas state, where a state of emergency has been declared as dozens of aftershocks ranging from 4.3 to 5.7 have been recorded along the Mexican Pacific coast. Peña Nieto says schools in 11 states have been closed as well as Salina Cruz refinery on the southern coast.
The 8.2 earthquake is the strongest since 1985 when a tremor hit close to Mexico City killing thousands. The US Geological Survey says the quake was measured at 8.1 at a depth of 70 kilometers.
The PTWC warned of tsunami threats for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica, but at lower wave levels.
Mexico’s eastern coast is currently under threat by Hurricane Katia.