Mexico quake death toll rises to 29
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -- The death toll from a major earthquake that
hit southern Mexico last week rose to 29 on Sunday as rescuers arrived in
remote areas that bore the brunt of the quake, an official said.
Esbi Carrasquedo of the Civil Protection agency in Oaxaca said 27 bodies
had now been found in the impoverished state following Thursday's quake
that measured 7.5 on the Richter scale.
"We have 27 dead in the state, 105 injured ... and 10,500 homes damaged,"
Carrasquedo told Reuters. "The death count could rise because we are only
just today beginning to reach coastal areas that have been cut off. But
considering the strength of the earthquake, I think 27 dead is minimal."
The temblor was similar in intensity to recent quakes that killed 15,000
Turkey and 2,000 in Taiwan. But it was far less deadly because it struck in a
sparsely populated area of Oaxaca's Pacific Coast and originated deep
below ground, U.S. geophysicists say.
In Mexico City, one person died of a heart attack apparently brought on
shock. In the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, a woman died when she cracked
her skull in a fall while fleeing her house in panic.
In coastal areas of Oaxaca, the earthquake brought down the ramshackle
adobe huts of Indian peasants, crumbled roads and bridges and severed
Carrasquedo said rescue workers on Sunday began to arrive in communities
cut off since Thursday. Many of the villages were near the epicentre, located
some nine miles (15 km) offshore from the tourist resort of Puerto
Heavy rains in the past days were adding to the misery of quake victims
lost their homes, he added.
In the state capital, Oaxaca City, the temblor sent mortar crashing down
from colonial buildings and damaged pre-Columbian ruins at the nearby
archaeological site of Monte Alban.
It was not possible on Sunday to contact authorities at Monte Alban, where
experts are inspecting the ancient Zapotec city that looms over the Oaxaca
valley from a high hill.
But Martha Macree, a linguist and anthropologist at the University of
California, noted that the site had survived a many natural disasters.
"Monte Alban is an extremely important archaeological site in Mexico. But
it's been through a lot in the past couple thousand years and is still standing,"
Macree told Reuters.
With tombs found to be full of gold, silver and jade jewelry, the
25-square-mile (65-square-km) site ranks as one of Mexico's
Its temples, palaces and pyramids, some displaying Olmec influences from
the eastern states of Tabasco and Veracruz, were decorated with intricate
frescoes of what have variously been thought to be dancers, prisoners of
war or the ceremonies of a sex cult.
Copyright 1999 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.