At least four dead in Mexico Earthquake

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At least four people were killed in a powerful magnitude-8.1 earthquake that hit off the South-Western coast of Mexico, toppling buildings and triggering tsunami warnings on Friday.

The quake was centred about 87 kilometres off the state of Chiapas and struck at a depth of 69.7 kilometres at 11:49 p.m. on Thursday (0449 GMT Friday), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Two children died as a result of the earthquake, said Arturo Jimenez, the governor of the state of Tabasco, located north of Chiapas.

One of the children died at hospital after a power failure caused life-saving equipment to stop operating while the other was killed when a wall collapsed, he said.

In Chiapas, two women were killed by falling debris, according to local media.

Waves surging more than three metres above normal tide are possible along the coast of Southern Mexico.

Waves reaching up to one metre could take place in Central American states and in western Pacific islands such as Fiji and New Zealand, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

The shock was felt in the capital Mexico City, about 1,000 kilometres away, where frightened residents fled from swaying buildings and into the streets, many of them in their nightdresses.

Patients were evacuated from some hospitals across the quake zone as a precaution.

Classes were cancelled on Friday across southern Mexican states in order to inspect buildings to make sure they are structurally sound.

Electricity was knocked out in several areas of the country.

In neighbouring Guatemala, President Jimmy Morales said damaged assessments would soon begin. “Please remain calm,’’ he urged on Twitter.

Mexico has substantial quake activity and is also prone to other natural threats such as hurricanes, floods and volcanoes.

On Sept. 19, 1985, thousands were killed when two violent earthquakes destroyed large parts of the capital.