MEXICO CITY (CBSLA/AP) — Mexico’s federal government says the death toll in a magnitude 7.1 earthquake had risen to 248 as of midnight Tuesday.
The announcement posted on Twitter did not break down the locations of the deaths, but said they included Mexico City and the states of Morelos, Puebla and Mexico.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.
On Mexico City’s main boulevard, thousands of people streamed out of buildings into the streets in a panic, filling the plaza around the Independence Monument with a mass of people.
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Traffic came to a standstill, as masses of workers blocked streets. Clouds of dust rose from fallen pieces of facades.
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Office workers hugged each other to calm themselves.
Mexico City International Airport was evacuated and operations were halted. Photos on social media showed significant structural damage as thousands of people were seen streaming out of the airport and into the street.
KNX speaks to a freelance journalist in Mexico City
“God bless the people of Mexico City,” President Donald Trump tweeted just after 1 p.m. “We are with you and will be there for you.”
In the city’s Roma neighborhood, which was struck hard by the 85 quake, small piles of stucco and brick fallen from building facades littered the streets.
Two men calmed a woman, blood trickling form a small wound on her knee, seated on a stool in the street, telling her to breathe deeply.
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At a nearby market, a worker in a hard hat walked around the outside of the building, warning people not to smoke as a smell of cooking gas filled the air.
Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, had been in a taxi a few blocks away when the quake struck. She said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings.
KNX speaks to an author in Mexico City affected by the massive earthquake
Earlier in the day buildings across the city held preparation drills on the anniversary of the 1985 quake.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)