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Mexico hit by 7.6-magnitude earthquake
Major earthquake strikes near Acapulco on Mexico's Pacific coast, the US Geological Survey reports.
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2012 20:42
Mexican President Felipe Calderon said there was no serious damage reported from the quake [AFP]

A major earthquake has struck Mexico, damaging buildings, scaring residents and prompting evacuations from buildings, although there were no reports of serious damage.

Office buildings shook and office employees fled into the street when the 7.6-magnitude quake rattled Mexico City on Tuesday.

Al Jazeera's Franc Contreras, reporting from Mexico City, said mobile phone lines went down and traffic snarled in the capital moments after the quake, which lasted for more than a minute.

"It was the longest earthquake I have ever felt in my life. Much of the part of Mexico where the quake struck, near Acapulco, has been cut off from the outside world, due to broken phone lines."

Television images showed part of a bridge collapsed onto a vehicle on Tuesday. It wasn't immediately clear if anyone was injured.

"I swear I never felt one so strong, I thought the building was going to collapse," said Sebastian Herrera, 42, a businessman from a neighbourhood hit hard in Mexico's devastating 1985 earthquake, which killed thousands.

Some buildings in the district of Condesa were cracked, though mayor Marcelo Ebrard said via his Twitter account that there was no sign of major damage to the city from the air after conducting a helicopter flyover.

President Felipe Calderon also said on his twitter account there were no reports of serious damage from the quake.

The US Geological Survey, or USGS, said the quake registered magnitude 7.6 and that its epicentre was in Guerrero state, near the Pacific Coast resort of Acapulco.

Sources in Acapulco told Al Jazeera that damage in the city is "minimal".

Mexican reports put the strength of the quake lower than the USGS, and residents of Acapulco told Reuters news agency the quake had not been too violent.

Gabino Cue, governor of Oaxaca state, said via Twitter that the quake had caused cracks in school buildings and damaged roofs in one part of the state.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the inland earthquake would not generate a destructive widespread tsunami, but there was a possibility of some local tsunami effects.

The quake was felt as far away as Guatemala City.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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