Disaster agencies across Central America and the US have issued tsunami alerts after a powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Southern Mexico this morning.
THE earthquake is reported to have caused “buildings to sway” and cut off power supplies in some areas. According to the US Geologic Survey (USGS), the earthquake hit Mexico’s southern Pacific coast at around 10:30am – at a depth of 16 miles. The epicenter was seven miles south-southwest of Santa Maria Zapotitlan in Oaxaca state. The quake was felt in Guatemala and throughout southern and central Mexico. The USGS estimated that “some two million people felt strong or moderate shaking and another 49 million felt weak or light shaking”.
The country’s seismic alarms were sounded to warn for residents to exit buildings. Helicopters also flew over downtown Mexico City, with police patrols sounding their sirens to alert the public. Although there were power cuts, no immediate damage or injuries have been reported.
However, Guatemala’s national disaster agency has already issued a tsunami alert for its southern Pacific coast, forecasting the arrival of waves up to a meter high, and has advised locals to move away from the sea. Additionally, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecast a tsunami threat with waves “three to 10 feet above tide levels along parts of the coasts of Mexico”, as well as smaller tsunami waves predicted for Central America, Peru and Ecuador.