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Six killed as 7.4-magnitude earthquake strikes southern Mexico; tsunami alert issued

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The United States Geological Survey said that the powerful earthquake was centred on Oaxaca, a mountainous state known for coffee cultivation.

Six people were killed after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit southern Mexico’s Pacific coast on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The earthquake set-off a tsunami alert along Central America’s Pacific coast.

The United States Geological Survey said that the powerful earthquake was centred on Oaxaca, a mountainous state known for coffee cultivation. “The earthquake occurred as the result of reverse faulting on or near the plate boundary between the Cocos and North American plates,” USGS tweeted.

The USGS said the epicentre of the earthquake was located 69 kilometres North East of the town of Pochutla. The earthquake was only 26 kilometres below the earth’s surface.

“The earthquake also resulted in a tsunami threat message issued by NOAA’s [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] Pacific Tsunami Warning Center,” USGS added in a news release. “This message indicates the potential for hazardous tsunami waves within 1,000 kilometres of the epicentre, including forecasted waves of less than 0.3 meters in amplitude in Hawaii.”

An unidentified Oaxaca state official told Reuters that rescue workers were trying to reach a settlement neat the epicentre, where people were trapped in damaged homes. The official added that residents had called the authorities and asked for help.

The aftershocks of the earthquake were felt as far as Mexico city. Hundreds of buildings were damaged and the residents ran into the streets in panic.

Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat said that his administration will implement safety protocols “to monitor the streets and keep the population protected.”

Mexico is one of the world’s most seismically-active countries. It is located at the intersection of three tectonic plates. Mexico city, the country’s capital, is especially prone to earthquakes because it is situated on top of an ancient lake bed. In 2017, more than 300 people in the country were killed in a 7.1-magnitude earthquake.


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