MEXICO CITY – Authorities estimated that about 50 people were still trapped under buildings that collapsed during this week’s magnitude-7.1 earthquake, Mexico City’s Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said on Thursday.
Mancera told reporters at a press conference that rescue workers estimated about 50 survivors might be trapped under debris caused by Tuesday’s powerful tremor.
The Interior Ministry has confirmed the deaths of 273 people, with the capital Mexico City accounting for 137 of the fatalities.
Sixty people so far have been rescued alive in the area of the city that was hardest hit by the quake.
Although Mancera was unable to verify exactly how many people have been made homeless, he said there were 2,500 people seeking refuge in the 44 shelters provided by the Social Development Ministry.
Mancera said that properties were being monitored by security forces to guard against possible burglaries.
Meanwhile, authorities denied that collapsed and severely damaged buildings that could still contain survivors were being demolished and bulldozed amid reports that rescue work was being blocked.
National Coordinator of Civil Protection Luis Felipe Puente dismissed the reports as “false rumors,” and told reporters that heavy machinery was only being used to clear debris once it had been ascertained that no people were left under the rubble.
Tuesday’s earthquake struck as the country was commemorating the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 quake that left thousands dead.
This week’s disaster came just 12 days after a magnitude-8.2 tremor, the country’s most powerful since 1932, struck southern Mexico, killing 98 people.