Sept 19: Mexico marks twin anniversaries of deadly earthquakes

MEXICO CITY – Mexico marks the anniversaries today (September 19) of two deadly earthquakes: one that devastated the country last year, claiming 369 lives, and another that killed more than 10,000 people on the same date in 1985.

A year ago, residents of Mexico City had just finished the earthquake drill they hold every Sept 19 – a ritual in memory of 1985 – when, some two hours later, the ground started shaking violently.

The sprawling capital of more than 20 million people was soon reliving its 32-year-old trauma: Buildings collapsed into tangled piles of concrete and steel, as frantic volunteers tried to dig through the wreckage to reach those trapped inside.

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Yesterday, President Enrique Pena Nieto’s office said the government had provided aid to help rebuild 166,000 homes of more than 169,000 that were damaged, mostly in the south.

But 434 buildings in Mexico City are still at risk of collapse and over 1,000 require significant reinforcement before they can be reoccupied, the capital’s government said.

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

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