A rattled Mexico starts to pick up the pieces after deadly quake

Massive Earthquake Rocks Mexico as the Country Prepares for Hurricane Katia on Gulf Coast

Massive Earthquake Rocks Mexico as the Country Prepares for Hurricane Katia on Gulf Coast

The death toll following Mexico's strongest quake in a century has risen to at least 61 as a huge rescue operation in the south of the country continues efforts to free people trapped beneath the rubble.

Officials raised the death toll from Thursday night's quake as more bodies were found in the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.

"It's 71 (dead). Just for Oaxaca", said Jesus Gonzalez, a spokesman for the state civil protection authority, reported Reuters.

About 1,000 homes were also destroyed and 5,000 others damaged in Chiapas alone.

Residents were advised that tsunami waves could hit within three hours off the coasts of Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Ecuador.

"It was a major quake in scale and magnitude, the strongest in the past 100 years", said President Enrique Pena Nieto in an address from the National Disaster Prevention Center's headquarters, where he was supervising the emergency response.

The natural disaster was felt in at least 10 states of southern and central Mexico that are home to 50 million people, or almost half of the nation's population, the president said.

More than five thousand houses have been damaged and many residents have been sleeping in the streets or in their cars fearing more buildings will collapse.

Tropical storms Jose, Katia upgraded to hurricane status
Hurricane Juan, well east of Irma in the Atlantic, is now a category 1 storm with sustained winds of 75 miles per hour . ET, with Katia approaching Mexico, Irma over the Caribbean islands, and Jose out in the Atlantic.

Many were asleep when the quake struck.

"It's unusual, but it's not unheard of", said seismologist Susan Hough of the USGS, describing how stresses on the seafloor can produce big earthquakes.

Pena Nieto said authorities were working to re-establish supplies of water and food, and to provide medical attention to those who need it. "My prayers for those who have lost their lives and their families", Francis said at a mass in Colombia.

Three people died in Chiapas and two in the town of Tabasco.

Smaller tsunami waves were observed on the coast or measured by ocean gauges elsewhere. The governor of neighboring Tabasco state said two children had died, bringing the death toll to six. "Homes, schools and hospitals have been damaged".

In neighbouring Guatemala, President Jimmy Morales appeared on national television to call for calm while emergency crews surveyed damage. As of Saturday, officials reported 36 people dead in that town.

Mr Pena Nieto confirmed that major damage has been caused and that 1 million initially had been without power following the quake, but that electricity had been restored to 800,000 of them. Katia made landfall Friday night as a hurricane.

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