In Brief

At least 200 dead in Mexico earthquake

The 7.1 magnitude quake struck near Atencingo in Puebla state shortly after official earthquake drill

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake has struck central Mexico, killing at least 200 people and leaving many more trapped in buildings in the capital, Mexico City.

The epicentre of the quake was near Atencingo in Puebla state, about 120km (75 miles) from Mexico City, with a depth of 51km (31.5 miles), according to the US Geological Survey.

Rescue workers and residents are searching through the rubble for survivors, amid fears of aftershocks and possible gas leaks. Official figures say 216 people have died, although some reports, including ABC, are claiming the death toll stands at as many as 248.

“Hours before the quake hit, many people took part in drills and commemorative events on the anniversary of the devastating earthquake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985,” CNN reports.

“Earthquake alarms did sound, correspondents say, but some residents apparently thought they were part of the day of drills,” the BBC adds.

The quake came less than two weeks after at least 90 people were killed by an 8.1 magnitude tremor in the country’s southern region.

“The most recent earthquake was too far from the larger quake 11 days ago to be an aftershock and appears to be a separate and unrelated event,” US Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle told ABC.

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