President sends condolence to Mexico over quake losses

Massive Earthquake Rocks Mexico as the Country Prepares for Hurricane Katia on Gulf Coast

Mexico was hit by the most powerful natural disaster in a century Thursday night, leaving more than 60 people dead and hundreds of people injured.

The worst-hit city was Juchitan, on the narrow waist of Oaxaca known as the Isthmus, where 36 quake victims died. But they warned that those figures remain preliminary.

The 8.1 magnitude quake off the coast of Chiapas state was stronger than a 1985 temblor that flattened swathes of Mexico City and killed thousands. In September 1985, a magnitude 8.0 quake killed an estimated 9,500 people in and around Mexico City.

Sirens wailed across Mexico City warning its estimated 20 million population of a rapidly approaching quake from the Pacific, the latest use of its effective early warning system.

At least six people have died from the quake, and Nieto has warned that aftershocks could be as strong as 7.2.

A state senator from Chiapas told The Daily Beast, "We could be looking at more than 10,000 people facing crisis". Some were newly homeless, while others feared further aftershocks could topple their cracked adobe dwellings.

Israel will send aid to earthquake-hit Mexico in the coming days, coinciding with a previously planned visit to the North American country by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

At least one person died when a church collapsed in San Sebastian, Guatemala, according to The Independent.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said in a news conference Friday that the quake was the strongest to hit the nation in a century - and that 50 million Mexicans felt shaking. Smaller tsunami waves were observed on the coast or measured by ocean gauges in several other places.

Its epicenter was off the coast of Chiapas, said the United States Geological Survey. "Homes, schools and hospitals have been affected".

In the capital, people ran out of buildings, many in their pajamas, after hearing warning sirens go off just before midnight (0500 GMT Friday).

The quake struck at 11.49pm on Thursday (4.49am GMT on Friday), and its epicentre was 102 miles (165 kilometres) west of Tapachula in Chiapas.

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