5 Apr 2010

Two die in quake in Mexico

10:41 pm on 5 April 2010

A string of aftershocks rattled the US and Mexican Pacific Coast, hours after a major earthquake struck northwestern Mexico, killing two people and rocking buildings as far away as southern California.

Emergency workers struggled to respond to damage and injuries after the magnitude 7.2 quake knocked out power and damaged water lines.

The two deaths occurred in Mexicali, the capital of Baja California state. Roads also cracked, telephone poles toppled and walls crumbled.

An untold number of homes, offices and hospitals were also damaged.

There were no reports of injuries and only limited damage in California, Arizona and Nevada in the United States, where the quake was also felt.

An empty multi-storey parking building which was under construction in Mexicali collapsed and broken gas pipes sparked a number of fires, a Baja California civil protection official told Mexican radio.

A highway between Tijuana and Mexicali was badly damaged, other officials said, while retaining walls collapsed in some places.

The relatively shallow quake was centered in a lightly populated area close to the town of Guadalupe Victoria and 50 kilometres southeast of Mexicali.

It occurred at 3.40pm on Sunday (local time), at a depth of 10 kilometres, the US Geological Survey says.

A Pacific Tsunami Warning Center spokesperson says the earthquake was too far inland to generate a tsunami.

No NZers appear to be affected

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says there have been no reports of New Zealanders missing or hurt in the earthquake.

A spokesperson says officials are continuing to make enquiries about any New Zealanders who may be in Mexico.

The spokesperson says no New Zealanders have requested help from the ministry or the consulate office in Mexico.