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7.1 Mexico Earthquake Kills Dozens, Collapsing 44 Buildings In Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (CBS SF/AP) -- A powerful earthquake has shaken central Mexico, killing scores of people and collapsing buildings on the anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake.

The head of Mexico's civil defense agency says the nationwide death toll from Tuesday's earthquake has risen to 149.

Mexico's president says 22 people have died at a school that collapsed in the nation's capital.

The head of Mexico's civil defense agency says the nationwide death toll from Tuesday's earthquake has risen to 149.

Luis Felipe Puente said 55 people died in Morelos state, just south of the capital, while 49 died in Mexico City and 32 died in Puebla state, where the quake was centered. Ten people died in Mexico State, which surrounds the capital, and three in Guerrero state. The count did not include one death reported by officials in Oaxaca state.

It's the largest number of fatalities in a Mexican earthquake since the 1985 Mexico City quake that killed thousands.

The quake measured 7.1 and was located in the state of Puebla, centered near the town of Raboso, some 35 miles southwest of Puebla and about 70 miles southeast of Mexico City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Mexico's seismological agency calculated its preliminary magnitude at 6.8.

Morelos Gov. Graco Ramirez said 42 died in his central Mexican state, with 12 dead in Jojutla and four in the state capital of Cuernavaca.

Gov. Alfredo del Mazo told the Televisa news network that two people died in the State of Mexico, which also borders the capital. He said a quarry worker was killed when the quake unleashed a rockslide and another person was killed by a falling lamppost.

At least 11 others died in Puebla, according to Francisco Sanchez, spokesman for the state's Interior Department.

The earthquake comes less than two weeks after an 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck the southern portion of Mexico, killing dozens and causing widespread damage.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said at least 44 buildings collapsed and that between 50 and 60 people have been pulled alive from rubble.

He told Televisa there appear to be 20 or more buildings that collapsed or suffered serious damage.

Local television stations and social media showed images of collapses facades and streets filled with rubble.

The earthquake hit 32 years to the day of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake which measured 8.0 and killed at least 5,000 people, and as many as 10,000 by some estimates. Earlier Tuesday, people across Mexico City held earthquake preparation drills and commemorated the 1985 quake.

President Trump tweeted his support for Mexico on Tuesday afternoon: "God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you."

Puebla Gov. Tony Galil tweeted that there had been damaged buildings in the city of Cholula including collapsed church steeples.

In Mexico City, thousands of people fled office buildings and hugged to calm each other along the central Reforma Avenue as alarms blared, and traffic stopped around the Angel of Independence monument.

In the Roma neighborhood, which was struck hard by the 1985 quake, piles of stucco and brick fallen from building facades littered the streets. Two men calmed a woman seated on a stool in the street, blood trickling form a small wound on her knee.

People remove debris of a damaged building after a real quake rattled Mexico City on September 19, 2017 while an earthquake drill was being held in the capital. (ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

At a nearby market, a worker in a hardhat walked around the outside warning people not to smoke as a smell of gas filled the air.

Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, said she was in a taxi a few blocks away when the quake struck. She said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings. She was anxiously trying to locate her children, whom she had left in the care of her disabled mother.

Pictures fell from office building walls, objects were shaken off of flat surfaces and computer monitors toppled over. Some people dove for cover under desks. Local media broadcast video of whitecap waves churning the city's normally placid canals of Xochimilco as boats bobbed up and down.

Much of Mexico City is built on former lakebed, and the soil is known to amplify the effects of earthquakes even hundreds of miles away.

Mexico's federal government has declared a state of disaster in Mexico City, freeing up emergency funds.

Those having difficulty reaching people in Mexico can call (202) 501-4444 or 1 (888) 407-4747 Ext. 0 and can visit

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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