Mexico earthquake death toll rises to 318; thousands homeless

MEXICO – So far there have been 318 people killed by a 7.1 earthquake on the Richter scale that hit central Mexico last Tuesday, according to the South American country’s national coordinator of Civil Protection.

Of this total, 180 victims are reported in Mexico City -119 women and 61 men-, 73 in the state of Morelos, 45 in Puebla, 13 in the State of Mexico, 6 in Guerrero, and 1 in Oaxaca, said Luis Felipe Puente.

In the meantime, the reconstruction work continues in some localities of the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, affected by the great quake of September 7 of 8.2 degrees.

President Enrique Peña Nieto has called for calm on the face of the more than 4,000 aftershocks, with some of them that yesterday caused new damages in the aforementioned states and the capital of the country.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera reported that 7,649 properties have been examined and 87 percent of those are safe and require only minor repairs. But that means about 1,000 left standing have been determined to be uninhabitable – and the number seemed likely to rise as more are inspected.

Mancera also said Saturday night on Twitter that nearly 17,000 people have been “attended to” at 48 shelters, though it’s not clear how many of those are being housed there. Many are bunking with family or friends.

Many of those survivors are now in hospitals with injuries ranging from fractures and bruises to severe brain injuries. Many face an uncertain future.

The 1985 earthquake was 30 times more powerful than the one on Tuesday. It toppled apartment and office towers, killing more than 10,000 people.

Tuesday’s earthquake, while centered closer to the capital, struck hardest at smaller, less populated buildings, taking fewer lives.

There are still tens of thousands of pending requests across the city for engineers to review structural damages, so the estimate of damaged buildings is likely to grow.