Massive Earthquake Hits Mexico

Sep 8, 2017
Originally published on March 27, 2018 12:13 pm

A massive earthquake hit just off the Mexican coast near Guatemala overnight. NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with reporter Emily Green from Mexico City.

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And there has been a massive earthquake off the coast of Mexico this morning. The USGS says it was 8.1 magnitude quake. It hit near Chiapas. That's in the southern part of Mexico near the border with Guatemala.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Speaking Spanish).

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Speaking Spanish).

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Speaking Spanish).

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Speaking Spanish).

KELLY: That's a little bit of what it sounded like in Tuxtla Gutierrez, as uploaded by a user on the video sharing site Periscope. Now this is the strongest quake to hit Mexico in a century. It was felt as far away as Mexico City, and that is where we find reporter Emily Green. She joins us via Skype. Hi, Emily. How you doing?

EMILY GREEN, BYLINE: I'm great. Thank you.

KELLY: Tell me, where were you? What could you feel when the quake began?

GREEN: I was in Mexico City. I was on the street, coming home. And I heard a horn, which happened - which I found out was the warning symbol - or the warning sound for the earthquake. I happened to be in front of a strip club just by happenstance. And so I saw all of these scantily clad women run outside very scared. And as I continued on, I saw men and women with their babies huddling on the street. So it was kind of a surreal scene. But the streets were...

KELLY: Oh, my goodness, yeah.

GREEN: Yes. The streets were trembling. The buildings were swaying. People told me that inside the buildings, art was falling off the wall, lamps were falling down. So it was intense, and it lasted a long time.

KELLY: A long time, like a minute, more - what?

GREEN: Yeah. It felt like more than a minute. It probably was no more than a minute. But when the ground is shaking beneath your feet, it definitely feels longer than that.

KELLY: Yeah. And we, I mean - just to emphasize, in Mexico City, you're about 650 miles away from the epicenter. What do we know about the epicenter and what the damage was like closer to that area?

GREEN: Well, as you said, the epicenter was in the state of Chiapas, which is a pretty poor state in Mexico. It's unclear right now what extent of the damage is because the earthquake happened at 11:50 at night. Preliminary reports say that at least six people are dead, including - some of the victims are children who died when a wall collapsed. And another one was a baby who died in a children's hospital that lost electricity. And I imagine we will hear more reports of those victims.

KELLY: And just very briefly, it sounds like this has also triggered waves - reports of a tsunami.

GREEN: Right. I think there are waves of about 4 feet around the coast. And there was also warnings that there could be even bigger waves.

KELLY: All right, that's reporter Emily Green reporting from Mexico City on this 8.1 magnitude earthquake that happened overnight.

Thanks so much for talking to us.

GREEN: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.