More than 200 killed after tremor strikes on anniversary of devastating 1985 earthquake.

A powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City on Tuesday, killing more than 200 people and causing widespread panic.

The powerful quake struck at 1.14 p.m. local time (1814GMT) 122 kilometers (76 miles) southeast of the capital at a depth of 51 km (32 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Local media reported collapsed buildings in Mexico City as well as severe damage in regions to the south.

Rescue operations initially focused on schools, where many students were believed to have been trapped, the English language Mexico News Daily website said.

The site reported that Cuauhtemoc, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Mexico City, was worst hit and said borough chief Ricardo Monreal had called for it be declared a disaster area.

Transport links were disrupted, with some lines on the city’s metro system not operating due to electrical shortages and the Mexico City-Acapulco highway was damaged.

Flights were suspended at Mexico City International Airport.

Anniversary of 1985 earthquake

Images on social media showed buildings collapsing, swaying or shaking and a fire and explosion in the capital.

The deadly tremor came on the anniversary of a 1985 earthquake that left more than 10,000 dead and destroyed a large part of the city.

The latest quake occurred hours after an annual drill for the earthquake-prone city, sending residents pouring into the streets for a second time.

National Coordinator for Civil Protection Luis Felipe Puente said the death toll was 217.

In a Twitter post, he said the deaths included 86 in Mexico City, 71 in Morelos and 43 in Puebla, the epicenter of the quake.

In a public address, President Enrique Pena Nieto said early Wednesday that the country was facing “another major national emergency”. The country was hit by an 8.2-magnitude earthquake on Sept. 8 that killed nearly 100 people and left around 2.5 million residents needing aid.

“The priority at this time is to continue the rescue of those still trapped and to provide medical care to the wounded,” Nieto said.

Condolences

In a statement, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said: “We are saddened by the earthquake… We share the grief of the Mexican people, extend our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wish recovery to the injured.”

Turkey has experienced severe earthquakes, most recently the 1999 Izmit quake that left more than 17,000 dead and destroyed towns and cities.

“While reiterating our strong solidarity with the Mexican government and friendly people of Mexico, we express Turkey’s readiness to provide support with all possible means to Mexico if needed,” the statement added.

U.S. President Donald Trump was among world leaders to voice his support. “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you,” he tweeted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin extended condolences to his Mexican counterpart and conveyed his words of sympathy to the families of those killed by the earthquake and wished a quick recovery to the injured, the Kremlin said in a statement.

"Vladimir Putin emphasized that Russia is ready to provide the necessary assistance to friendly Mexico in overcoming the consequences of this natural disaster," it added.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tweeted: “Devastating news from Mexico City. My thoughts are with those affected by today’s earthquake - Canada will be ready to help our friends.

AA