Mexico natural disaster: Rescue efforts continue as death toll rises

A massive quake off southern Mexico on Thursday night that killed at least 90 people damaged tens of thousands of homes and afflicted upwards of two million people in the poorer south, state officials said, as more details of the disaster emerged.

In Tabasco, two children were among the dead.

President Enrique Pena Nieto declared three days of national mourning, and pledged to rebuild shattered towns and villages.

The powerful 8.1 tremor that hit the southern states of Chiapas, Tabasco and Oaxaca registered 8.2 on the Richter scale, damaging buildings and created fear of Tsunami.

The governor of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz is reporting two deaths related to the arrival of Hurricane Katia, which hit the state overnight.

The Interior Department reported that 428 homes were destroyed and 1700 were damaged just in Chiapas, the state closest to the epicentre.

The toll included 36 dead in Juchitan, located on the narrow waist of Oaxaca known as the Isthmus, where a hospital and about half the city hall also collapsed into rubble.

Pena Nieto said 50 million of Mexico's 120 million people felt the quake.

The 1985 quake was by the coast, about 322 kilometres from Mexico City.

Almost 2 million people were left in the darkness without power following the quake, and schools in 11 states were closed as a safety measure.

The magnitude 8.1 natural disaster struck Thursday night, the strongest Mexico has seen in a century. The other, an infant on a respirator, died after the quake triggered a power outage.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said waves of 3.3 feet (1 metre) above the tide level were measured off Salina Cruz, Mexico.

Four people were also injured in neighboring Guatemala, where President Jimmy Morales flew over affected areas and ordered urgent humanitarian assistance.

The official added that the storm had left some 70,000 people without electricity and caused damage in 53 of the Gulf state's 212 municipalities, Reuters reports.

The epicenter of the quake hit on Thursday night in the southern state of Chiapas, one of Mexico's poorest regions.

  • Jon Douglas