ON THE EVE OF 1985 ANNIVERSARY

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico Tuesday afternoon, striking about 70 miles southeast of the national capital in Mexico City.

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico Tuesday afternoon, striking about 70 miles southeast of the national capital in Mexico City. The quake, which was 51 kilometers deep,  hit near the small town of San Juan Raboso.

Earlier in the day buildings across the Mexico’s capital city had held preparation drills on the anniversary of an 8.0 quake in 1985, the Associated Press reports. The 1985 quake caused serious damage to the Greater Mexico City area and the deaths of at least 5,000 people.

In the city’s Roma neighborhood, which was struck hard by the 85 quake, small piles of stucco and brick fell from building facades littered the streets, the AP reports.

In the southern neighborhood of Coyoacan, the walls of colonial-era buildings cracked and sagged, with some collapsing into rubble, the Washington Post reports.

“This is the worst one I have ever felt,” shopkeeper Beatriz Aguilar Bustamante told the Post. “I don’t know if I will have a house when I go home.”

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Across the city, traffic came to a standstill, as masses of workers blocked streets, and clouds of dust rose from fallen pieces of facades.

Adrian Wilson, a photographer from New York City, told CNN he was in the capital when the earthquake struck.

“I was having lunch when the floor gently rocked as if a big truck went by,” Wilson said. “It then amplified in waves and the whole room started shaking. The building is from the 1930s and just survived a big earthquake, so I knew I would be OK.”

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto activated the country’s major disaster plan, according to NBC News, and called for the National Emergency Committee to assess the situation.

Activity for all levels of education in and Mexico City and nearby Puebla are suspended after the quake, public education secretary told NBC News.

Puebla Interior Secretary Diodoro Carrasco tweeted that the city has sustained material damage, but no deaths have been reported so far.

Carrasco said the towers of some churches have fallen in the neighboring city of Cholula, which is famous for its many houses of worship.

According to the USGS quakes in this magnitude range can cause “considerable damage in ordinary substantial buildings with partial collapse.” The agency issued an orange alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses, which mean significant casualties and damage are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread.

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