A 7.4 strong magnitude earthquake centred near the resort of Huatulco jolted parts of southern and central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least two people and wounding four others.
According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake hit at 10:29 a.m. local time, with an epicentre near El Coyul, a 6.8 miles southwest of possible of Santa Maria Zapotitlas in Oaxaca State, near El Coyul.
Alejandro Murat, governor of the Mexican state of Oaxaca, told Telemundo News on a live interview that some buildings collapsed in the area of Crucecita, killing at least one person and a few wounded.
“Unfortunately, someone lost their life after a building collapsed,” a statement in a video posted on social media by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said.
Murat later said a second person was killed in what looked like a house collapse in the tiny mountain village of San Juan Ozolotepec. At least two other people from the same village were injured with open fractures after some buildings crumbled, said Murat while a local radio interview.
The Oaxacan Health Services also reported casualties from the quake to general hospitals in Pochutla, Puerto Escondido and Pinotepa Nacional and several community hospitals in other areas. According to Murat, two of the hospitals with casualties have been dealing with coronavirus patients.
“We are verifying [damages] because this hospital is also tending COVID cases on the Oaxacan coast,” he said on a radio interview with Radio Fórmula. The severity of the damages is not yet specified. But according to Murat, the hospital was likely to be evacuated.
PeMex, the Mexican state-owned petroleum company said in a tweet that one of their oil refineries burst into flames in a result of the earthquake. The fire was later put out.
According to PeMex, at least one man was hurt during the incident and is receiving medical care
#PemexInforma que por sismo con epicentro en costas de Oaxaca, la refinería "Antonio Dovalí Jaime" en Salina Cruz fue puesta en paro seguro por registro de disparo en los turbo generadores y caldera, lo que provocó un conato de incendio que fue sofocado de inmediato. pic.twitter.com/LCG6hX1Vei
— Petróleos Mexicanos (@Pemex) June 23, 2020
“We will continue to call on people to act with precaution due to possible aftershocks. Let’s take care of ourselves without anguish or despair,” said López Obrador in Spanish.
As of the early afternoon, at least 147 aftershocks had been reported, according to López Obrador.
In Oaxaca, Carlos Moreno, the owner of Koch Mezcal, was working alongside one of his employees in one of his agave artisanal processing plants when the quake hit. The worker was digging up a 50-foot well to ferment the liquor when it occurred.
“What a scare!,” Moreno stated “The man was 15 meters below ground, with an earthquake shaking everything, in almost darkness and in a small space… . We managed to get him out fast, but what a scare.”
Seismic alarms were heard wailing midmorning with enough warning for residents to evacuate buildings and power was knocked out to some areas.
Authorities reported a power outage throughout the state’s capital.
The U.S. Geological Survey predicted that about 2 million people felt strong or moderate shaking and another 49 million felt weak or light shaking.
Santiago Taboada, mayor of the town of Benito Juarez in Mexico City, told Telemundo News that his town suffered “minor damages” even though phones lines are malfunctioning as a consequence of the earthquake.