Mexico City Earthquake 19 September 1985
The epicentre of the earthquake was at the border between the states of Michoacán and Guerrero more than 300 kilometres away, yet Mexico City suffered the most damage.
The earthquake which lasted for about three to four minutes made buildings of 6-15 stories in height fall apart in an instant.
- Electricity lines were destroyed for days as well as communications.
- The Central Communications Centre building collapsed isolating Mexico City from the immediate help and assistance of neighbouring countries.
- Water and the sewage systems were seriously damaged, thus, contaminating the water supply in the city.
- About a hundred thousand housing units were destroyed as well as government buildings, schools and other infrastructure.
- Three of the largest hospitals in the city collapsed burying some 1,200 people alive. The loss of hospitals crippled the city’s ability to help injured victims.
An aftershock of 7.5 magnitude was felt 36 hours later causing widespread panic.
The earthquake was felt as far north as Houston, Texas, 745 miles (1,200 km) away, and in Guatemala City 621 miles (1,000 km) to the south.
The rescue operation continued to find survivors up to a week later. Among the most remarkable rescues was that of 58 newborn babies, pulled alive from the wreckage of a maternity ward three days after the earthquake struck.
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