18:40 GMT +315 November 2018
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    Rescue workers search for people trapped inside a collapsed building in the Del Valle area of Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.

    Mexico Conducts Mass Searches for Trapped Locals as Quake Death Toll Rises

    © AP Photo/ Rebecca Blackwell
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    Striking Mexico on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that left thousands in the country dead, officials say more than 200 people - including 22 schoolchildren - died Tuesday in the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked the nation.

    The Mexican government's current figures (which are expected to rise), according to the Luis Felipe Puente, head of Mexico's Civil Protection Service, have tallied 117 dead in Mexico City, 55 in Morelos state, 39 in Puebla state, 12 in Mexico state, and three in Guerrero state.

    ​After conducting a flyover of Mexico City, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Tuesday afternoon that at least 44 buildings — homes, schools and office buildings — had toppled.

    ​Following the destructive quake, the White House announced Wednesday that US President Donald Trump had spoken with his Mexican counterpart and offered assistance in rescue efforts.

    "Children are often the most vulnerable in emergencies such as this, and we are particularly concerned because schools across the region were in session and filled with students," Jorge Vidal, director of operations of Mexico's Save the Children program, said in a statement Wednesday.

    ​Late Tuesday, Peña Nieto said dozens of bodies had been pulled from a collapsed elementary school, and at least 30 children were still missing.

    "We are facing a new national emergency," he told residents in his first address to the nation after the disaster. Mexico was already under a state of emergency after an 8.1 earthquake struck near the country's Oaxaca and Chiapas states on September 7 and Hurricane Katia scraped past on September 9.

    The September 7 quake killed at least 36 people and bulldozed dozens of the homes — it was even felt in neighboring Guatemala.

    ​Tuesday's deadly quake struck US' southern neighbor around 1:14 p.m. local time in the Mexican state of Puebla, according to the United States Geological Survey.

    According to Save the Children's Hanna Monsivais, hundreds have flooded into the streets to help with rescue efforts.

    ​"Volunteers are bringing water, food, clothes and face masks so that they can help the official authorities move all the debris and rocks, because there are still people trapped under the buildings," she said in a statement.

    ​"Every once in awhile, authorities ask for silence so they can hear the people who are still trapped," Monsivais added.


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