A massive earthquake off the coast of southern Mexico killed at least 32 people Friday and set off tsunami warnings throughout the region.
The quake struck at a depth of about 22 miles off the coast of Tres Picos around 11:49 p.m. local time. Its epicenter was 102 miles west of Tapachula in southern Chiapas.
Tremors could be felt hundreds of miles away in Mexico city.
The U.S. Geological Survey initially estimated a magnitude of 8.0 before revising it to 8.1. The Mexican Seismological Agency later rated it 8.4.
The startling ratings make the massive earthquake the biggest the country has seen in a century, said Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
The death toll continued to rise on Friday.
Oaxaca so far had the biggest loses with 23 confirmed deaths, the southern Mexican state’s governor told local media. Another seven died in the border state of Chiapas, while two more died in the coastal Tabasco.
The physical damage was also catastrophic.
More than 1 million people initially lost their power, with some 800,000 later getting electricity restored.
An infant at a children’s hospital died in northern Chipia when the power lose cut off supply to the baby’s ventilator.
Guatemala President Jimmy Morales called for calm as crews searched for damage in his neighboring country.
“We have reports of some damage and the death of one person, even though we still don’t have details,” he said, noting the unconfirmed death occurred in San Marcos state near its border with Mexico.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said hazardous waves were possible within three hours of the large quake along several coasts in Mexico, including Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras and Ecuador. Tsunami threats were still being evaluated for Hawaii, Guam and other Pacific Islands.
There was no immediate tsunami threat for the U.S. West Coast.
A tsunami has been confirmed in Mexico, with one wave topping off at about three feet, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service.
Those in the capital city — located more than 650 miles from the quake’s epicenter — fled into the streets when the tremor occurred. Witnesses said buildings there threatened to topple, swaying back and forth, despite the city’s distance from the event.
There have been more than 62 aftershocks, and it’s possible they could peak at magnitudes as strong as 7.2.
Velasco told the television station Televisa several homes and a shopping center collapsed in San Cristobal, according to International Business Times.
“There are hospitals that have lost energy,” he said. “Homes, schools and hospitals have been affected.”
Nieto tweeted that he was in contact with the country’s center for disaster prevention.
Several neighborhoods reported power outages, while others said their lights remained on in the midst of the quake.
The last time Mexico was hit with an earthquake of such intensity was in 1985, when a disastrous tremor claimed the lives of thousands and wiped out countless buildings.
With News Wire Services