On Thursday, September 7th, 2017, a few minutes before midnight, Mexico lived through its strongest earthquake in a century. This is what happened.
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The earthquake struck at 11:50 PM. It was a magnitude 8.2 on the Richter scale and it lasted an incredible 3 minutes and 49 seconds.
The southeastern provinces of Oaxaca and Chiapas were most damaged by the earthquake. These are lovely but poor provinces, with many small towns and villages in remote areas. Sadly, the devastation there was severe.
Just to clarify, I don’t live anywhere near the devastated area of Oaxaca and Chiapas. I live in the Mexico City area, and although the quake did hit us, it wasn’t intense enough to cause real damage here.
But the quake was strong enough to bring back terrifying memories of the deadly 1985 earthquake, so crowds of people emptied entire apartment buildings and walked out into the street in their pajamas until the Civil Protection Agency announced it was safe to go back in.
The next day, schools and public office buildings in 11 states closed so Civil Protection officials could check for any damages. We don’t play around with natural disasters in Mexico.
Despite the emergency, personal story is not exciting at all. I slept through the earthquake. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but I went to bed at 10:00 PM and I didn’t feel a thing. I woke up the next day and found out about the earthquake from the news.
So this is what happened while I was sleeping like a baby.
How Mexico Lived Through its Strongest Earthquake in a Century
The quake rattled office and apartment buildings in Mexico City.
Midnight traffic was brought to a standstill.
The quake set off seismic alarms in Mexico City as the iconic Angel of Independence swayed back and forth.
These strange lights appeared in the night sky during the earthquake, like lightning without thunder. These are flashes of static electricity released into the atmosphere by the friction of rocks and minerals underground.
In the southeastern provinces of Oaxaca and Chiapas, the earthquake and the devastation were stronger.
In Chiapas, people barely had time to run out of buildings before they collapsed.
The city of Juchitan, Oaxaca, was nearly destroyed by the earthquake, but people there are still standing strong.
Destruction in Juchitan, Oaxaca.
Although this earthquake didn’t damage Mexico City, the city of Juchitan was nearly destroyed and its population will need plenty of aid to get back on its feet.
The people of Juchitan simply don’t have enough resources to deal with this sort of catastrophe, so Mexican citizens are already lining up to contribute to earthquake relief. You can contribute too.
How to Help Mexico Earthquake Victims
The death toll in the provinces of Oaxaca and Chiapas rises every day as more victims are unearthed from the rubble. And those that escaped have lost their homes.
This is turning into a huge humanitarian crisis, and relief is badly needed.