Mexico earthquake: Photos of flattened town of Juchitan de Zaragoza in Oaxaca state

Mexico earthquake death toll rises to 90 as devastation revealedReuters

At least 91 people were killed by the massive earthquake that struck off the coast of southern Mexico on Thursday (7 September). More than a third of the dead were residents of the town of Juchitan de Zaragoza, in Oaxaca state, where more than 5,000 homes were destroyed. Photographs show small homes and buildings in the town completely levelled by the quake, which struck the narrowest portion of Mexico on the isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Soldiers search the rubble of a house destroyed in an earthquake in Juchitan de ZaragozaEdgard Garrido/Reuters
The collapsed Hotel de Rio in Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca stateRonaldo Schemidt/AFP
Residents search for belongings amid the ruins of their home, knocked down by the 8.2-magnitude earthquake, in Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca stateRonaldo Schemidt/AFP

The town's streets are littered with the rubble of buildings that collapsed during the magnitude 8.1 earthquake – the most powerful to strike the country in 85 years. Many people continue to sleep outside, fearful of more collapses, as strong aftershocks rattle the town, including a magnitude 5.2 jolt early on Sunday.

Local officials said they had counted nearly 800 aftershocks of all sizes since the big quake, and the US Geological Survey counted nearly 60 with a magnitude of 4.5 or greater.

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The tremor rattled Mexico City and shook the neighbouring countries of Guatemala and El Salvador, but the Oaxacan town of Juchitan bore the brunt of the disaster, with sections of the town hall, a hotel, a church, a bar and many, many homes reduced to rubble.

Aerial view of the Saint Vicente Ferrer church in Juchitan de Zaragoza, damaged in the earthquakeCarlos Jasso/Reuters
Fernando, 24, who was injured while rescuing family members, poses in their earthquake-damaged home in Juchitan de ZaragozaEdgard Garrido/Reuters
Vicente Gomez looks at a debris-filled bedroom in his house in Juchitan de ZaragozaCarlos Jasso/Reuters
A woman surveys her home, which was severely damaged by the quake, in Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca stateRonaldo Schemidt/AFP
A man rides his motorbike past collapsed buildings in Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca stateRonaldo Schemidt/AFP
View of of buildings knocked down by a 8.1-magnitude earthquake in Juchitan de ZaragozaMario Vazquez/AFP
A biker rides in front of a house in Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca state, that was damaged by the 8.2 magnitude earthquakePedro Pardo/AFP
Aerial of the Town Hall in Juchitan de Zaragoza, which was collapsed during the earthquakeCarlos Jasso/Reuters

Injured residents are being treated at a makeshift hospital at a school gymnasium, with beds parked on the basketball court. The hospital's regular building was damaged. Maria Teresa Sales Alvarez said it was "chaos" when the earthquake struck the single-storey building, but staff moved patients outside and transferred most of those who required specialised care to other facilities.

Injured people lie on beds in a provisional hospital on a basketball court in Juchitan de ZaragozaCarlos Jasso/Reuters

Teams of soldiers and federal police with shovels and sledgehammers, as well as specially trained sniffer dogs, have fanned out across the town to help demolish damaged buildings and search for survivors or bodies buried in the rubble. Volunteers, many teens from religious or community groups in surrounding towns that were not as severely hit, have turned out in force to distribute water and clothing or lend a hand.

A member of the Mexican Navy poses with a specially trained rescue dog after an earthquake struck Juchitan de ZaragozaEdgard Garrido/Reuters
Members of the 'Topos' (Moles) – a specialised rescue team – search for survivors in Juchitan de Zaragoza, MexicoPedro Pardo/AFP
Members of the 'Topos' (Moles) – a specialised rescue team – search for survivors in Juchitan de Zaragoza, MexicoPedro Pardo/AFP
Members of the 'Topos' (Moles), a specialised rescue team, search for survivors in Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca statePedro Pardo/AFP
Rescuers search for survivors and bodies amid houses knocked down or severely damaged by the earthquake in Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca stateRonaldo Schemidt/AFP
Soldiers with specially trained dogs search for survivors amid the ruins of buildings in Juchitan de ZaragozaPedro Pardo/AFP
Exhausted soldiers rest on a truck after rescue work in the earthquake-ravaged town of Juchitan de ZaragozaEdgard Garrido/Reuters

Help has been slower to arrive in Union Hidalgo, a town of about 20,000 people about 30 minutes to the east. The town still lacks electricity, water and mobile phone service.

A man rides a horse past an earthquake-destroyed house in Union HidalgoJorge Luis Plata/Reuters
A woman stands on the rubble of a house in Union Hidalgo, Oaxaca stateJorge Luis Plata/Reuters

All the deaths were in three neighbouring states clustered near the epicentre that lay about 70 km (40 miles) off the coast. At least 71 people died in Oaxaca, many of them in Juchitan, while in Chiapas the count reached 16 and in Tabasco four people lost their lives, according to federal and state officials.

Relatives mourn on top of the coffin of police officer Juan Jimenez during his funeral in Juchitan de ZaragozaCarlos Jasso/Reuters
Family members attend the funeral of German Torres, 38, a victim of the earthquake that struck Juchitan de ZaragozaCarlos Jasso/Reuters

President Enrique Pena Nieto has declared three days of national mourning and pledged to rebuild shattered towns and villages. However, some residents interviewed expressed frustration that the poor southern regions were still not getting the help they needed from the richer north and centre of Mexico.

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