MEXICO CITY – The death toll from the Sept. 19 earthquake in central Mexico has risen to 366, following the discovery of several bodies in the rubble of a building that collapsed in the capital, national emergency management chief Luis Felipe Puente said on Tuesday.
The magnitude-7.1 earthquake killed at least 225 people in Mexico City, making the capital the area worst hit by the temblor, Puente said.
Rescue teams continue digging in the rubble of a building at Alvaro Obregon 286 in Roma, a district in downtown Mexico City, in an effort to locate more bodies.
The Sept. 19 earthquake also killed 74 people in Morelos state; 45 in Puebla state; 15 in Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area; six in Guerrero state; and one in Oaxaca state.
The Sept. 19 temblor occurred on the 32nd anniversary of the magnitude-8.1 earthquake that hit Mexico City, killing some 10,000 people, injuring more than 40,000 others and leaving 80,000 people homeless.
Four people were also killed on Sept. 23 as a result of a magnitude-6.1 aftershock that caused alarm in southern and central Mexico.
Seismologists said the Sept. 23 aftershock was linked to the massive magnitude-8.2 earthquake that struck just off Mexico’s southern coast on Sept. 7, killing 98 people.
The earthquakes that rocked Mexico last month damaged or destroyed residential buildings, schools and historic buildings, as well as infrastructure, causing damage estimated at 38 billion pesos (about $2.1 billion), officials said.
In 2015, Mexico City’s government installed a warning system, which uses 8,200 loudspeakers located across the capital’s 16 boroughs, to alert residents to an earthquake.
The Seismic Warning System gives Mexico City residents a 50-second alert to prevent a repetition of the tragedy that occurred in 1985.
The warning is generated by sensors along the Pacific coast, located about 400 kilometers (some 250 miles) from the capital, giving residents time to get out of buildings that could collapse in a temblor.
Mexico, one of the countries with the highest levels of seismic activity in the world, sits on the North American tectonic plate and is surrounded by three other plates in the Pacific: the Rivera microplate, at the mouth of the Gulf of California; the Pacific plate; and the Cocos plate.
The Cocos tectonic plate stretches from Colima state south and has the potential to cause the most damage since it affects Mexico City, which has a population of 20 million and was constructed over what was once Lake Texcoco.