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Earthquake of 7.6 in Mexico leaves at least 2 people dead

(CNN Spanish) –– The magnitude 7.6 earthquake that shook Mexico this Monday already claims the lives of two people. The national coordinator of Civil Protection, Laura Velázquez, confirmed this Tuesday that the deaths were registered in Manzanillo, Colima state.

Hours before, on Monday night, Civil Protection of Colima had reported the death of a second person, trapped in Plaza Punto Bahía.

CNN host in Mexico feels the 7.6 tremor in the air 1:14

At a press conference with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Velázquez explained that the greatest impact of the earthquake was recorded in Colima and Michoacán. In the first, in addition to the deaths, 9 injuries were confirmed. Also, 153 houses affected by structural and facade damage, 5 damaged bridges and 8 road collapses, among others. Meanwhile, in Michoacán, one person was injured, a house collapsed and 30 schools were damaged.

“It is possible to locate the greatest affectation in the states of Colima and Michoacán. In the state of Colima, two deceased, which were in Manzanillo. A woman who was severely injured because a wall fell on her and died, and a man who also received severe injuries and died from the collapse of a roof in a shopping plaza,” the official said. And she added that they continue in communication with the states and government agencies located in the affected areas.

The tragedies of September 19

With more than 692 aftershocks until this Tuesday, the tragic date of September 19 in Mexico was repeated again. The quake, which the government says was felt by 48 million people, occurred on the same day as the devastating earthquakes of 1985 and 2017.

The tremors that have marked Mexico in September 0:51

Every September 19, Mexico commemorates the National Civil Protection Day, which includes a mega-earthquake drill to improve society’s preparation for an event of these characteristics.

It was the 1985 earthquake that led to the creation of the National Civil Protection System.

That magnitude 8.1 earthquake left approximately 10,000 dead. It affected the center, south and west of the country, according to a report from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, which recalls that “the tremor caused severe damage to hundreds of buildings in the capital and completely changed the image of Mexico City.” Economic losses were estimated at more than US$4 billion.

And in 2017, Mexico would revive it again. Shortly after the usual drill was carried out, Morelos, Puebla, Mexico City, the State of Mexico, Guerrero and Oaxaca felt a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. It happened after another earthquake of great intensity was registered, on September 7, with a magnitude of 8.1.

The total number of deaths on September 19, 2017 was counted in the hundreds (the official figure is 369), while some 250,000 people were affected, more than 180,000 homes were damaged by the two earthquakes and of those, 50,610 had total damage.

An “unpleasant coincidence”

This is the third time that three earthquakes have shaken the country on a date marked by tragedy and fright. Now, the probability of this happening again exists but it is very low, according to the scientists, who highlight the importance of opening new lines of research in this regard in order to provide “appropriate” answers.

Earthquakes are a common phenomenon in Mexico, since the country is located in an area of ​​”high seismicity”, according to the National Seismological Service (SSN). But after Monday’s shock, the question many are asking is, how likely is it that three earthquakes will occur on the same date? Scientists have answered this.

“The probability is very low, but it is not impossible,” explained the scientist Víctor Hugo Espíndola, chief analyst of the SSN of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), about the relationship that could exist between the three earthquakes with a higher magnitude to 7 that have occurred on the same day in different years.

“If we see the entire seismic catalog that we have since the early 1900s, we see that they have been repeated for earthquakes greater than 7 in different months, for example we see several in the month of December, several in other months, then certainly the probability of occurring on the same day is very low,” explained the scientist.

Luis Quintanar Robles, a researcher at the Department of Seismology at the UNAM Institute of Geophysics, agreed that there is no scientific certainty that the earthquakes occur on the same day. “What we can say is that earthquakes generally trigger when there is a release of stress produced in a neighboring area,” Quintanar explained.

With information from Florencia Trucco, Rocío Muñoz-Ledo and Abel Alvarado.

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