Powerful earthquake hits Mexico on fateful anniversary, killing at least 2

“It’s this date. There’s something about the 19th,” said Ernesto Lanzetta, a business owner in the Cuauhtemoc borough of the city. “The 19th is a day to be feared.”

Thousands of people were killed in the Sep 19, 1985 earthquake and more than 350 died in the Sep 19, 2017 quake.

Many Mexicans reacted to the latest quake by posting an array of memes online venting their anxiety and finding humor in the natural disaster.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also noted material damage near the epicenter. Images posted on social media showed buildings badly damaged.

Mexican authorities said the seismic alert had sounded nearly two minutes before the quake struck, giving residents time to evacuate.

Still, some people in the capital struggled to grasp it was a real quake as the government had already sounded the alarm earlier in the day as a practice exercise commemorating the past earthquakes on the same day.

POWER OUT

In Coalcoman, Michoacan, not far from the epicenter, pictures showed shingles knocked off homes and building walls cracked by the force of the quake. In one store, merchandise was scattered across the floor.

Power was knocked out in parts of the trendy Roma neighborhood in Mexico City, about 400km from the epicenter. The national power utility said outages hit 1.2 million users.

Roma residents stood on the streets cradling pets, while tourists visiting a local market with a guide were visibly confused and upset. Traffic lights stopped working, and people clutched their phones, sending text messages or waiting for calls to get through.

Clara Ferri, who owns an Italian bookshop in Roma, said she told a customer to get out as soon as she heard the windows rattle, her senses attuned to the sounds of incipient earthquakes after 16 years in the location.

“It was like the dentist’s drill for me,” she said.

The rumbling grew in intensity, and as Ferri gathered with neighbors at an intersection, she looked up to see the eight-story building that houses her shop sway from side to side.

When she returned, shelves had toppled like dominos, sending over 1,000 books into heaps on the floor.

Officials roped off the sidewalk, which was littered with masonry that appeared to have fallen off the building. Residents trickled out with pets and suitcases, preparing to spend the night elsewhere, and a woman carefully escorted her 89-year-old uncle in his blue-and-white striped pajamas.