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Deadly quake, hurricane one-two punch for Mexico

| | Juchitan (Mexico) | in Sunday Pioneer

One of the most powerful earthquakes ever to hit Mexico was followed by a Gulf coast hurricane, dealing a one-two punch to the country that killed at least 63 people as workers scrambled on Saturday to respond to the twin national emergencies.

The 8.1 quake off the southern Pacific coast just before midnight Thursday toppled hundreds of buildings in several states. Hardest-hit was Juchitan, Oaxaca, where 36 people died and a third of the city’s homes collapsed or were uninhabitable, President Enrique Pena Nieto said late yesterday in an interview with the Televisa news network.

In downtown Juchitan, the remains of brick walls and clay tile roofs cluttered streets as families dragged mattresses onto sidewalks to spend a second anxious night sleeping outdoors. Some were newly homeless, while others feared further aftershocks could topple their cracked adobe dwellings.

“We are all collapsed, our homes and our people,” said Rosa Elba Ortiz Santiago, 43, who sat with her teenage son and more than a dozen neighbors on an assortment of chairs. “We are used to earthquakes, but not of this magnitude.”

Even as she spoke, across the country, Hurricane Katia was roaring onshore north of Tecolutla in Veracruz state, pelting the region with intense rains and maximum sustained winds of 120 kph. Veracruz Governor Miguel Angel Yunes said two people died in a mudslide related to the storm, and he said some rivers had risen to near flood stage, but there were no reports of major damage.

Veracruz and neighboring Puebla states evacuated more than 4,000 people ahead of the storm’s arrival.

The Hurricane Center said Katia could still bring 3 to 6 inches to a region with a history of deadly mudslides and flooding. 

 
 
 

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