2018: Scientist Say Is Going To Be A Very Bad Year For Large Earthquakes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

By Jeffrey Kluger

12:47 PM EST

There is no natural disaster sneakier than an earthquake. Hurricanes can be predicted and tracked weeks in advance, and even tornados, monsoons and blizzards at least have seasons. But earthquakes strike entirely without warning. Now, however, a new study suggests that we may want to brace for a surge of quakes in the year ahead, and the reason for the danger is an unlikely one: the rotation of the Earth has slowed slightly.

While accurately forecasting earthquakes is impossible, a backward look through the seismic record allows geologists to detect some distinct patterns. In the new study — which was presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, in Seattle, and published in Geophysical Research Letters — geologists Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana, tracked the incidence of magnitude 7 or greater earthquakes worldwide since 1900. While in most years there is an average of just 15 such major shake-ups — already more than enough — there have been evenly spaced intervals in the past 117 years in which the annual total jumped to between 25 and 30.

A little more than a century on a planet that is more than 4 billion years old is not exactly a representative time sample, but Bilham and Bendick noticed something else about these volatile, quake-prone periods. They seem to follow periodic slowdowns in the speed of the Earth’s rotation. Our solid planet is a lot less solid than it seems, and that’s true not just of its oceans and air, but of its outer core, which is about 1,200 mi. (2,200 km) thick and is composed mostly of liquid iron and nickel. That molten ooze tends to slosh about, following a pattern that oscillates more or less predictably over time, much the way — on a vastly smaller and more fleeting scale — water sloshing in a bucket will move back and forth in a repeating cycle.

Such motion deep inside the Earth slightly changes the planet’s rate of spin, adding to or subtracting from the 24-hour day by about a millisecond — a change that is regularly recorded by atomic clocks. When a slowdown occurs, the molten core continues to strain outward, obeying Newton’s fundamental law that objects in motion will try as hard as they can to remain in motion.

That outward pressure slowly propagates through the rocks and plates and faults that lie above it. Bilham and Bendick calculate that it takes five to six years for the energy sent out by the core to radiate to the upper layers of the planet where quakes occur, meaning that after the atomic clock notices a slowdown you’ve got five to six years before you’d better buckle up.

The last such time the planet slowed was in 2011, and recent events suggest a troubling pattern again playing out: the magnitude 7.1 quake that struck Mexico City on Sept. 19; the 7.3 event on the Iran-Iraq border on Nov. 12; and the 7.0 off New Caledonia on Nov. 19.

Not only does the new study suggest when there could be an uptick in quakes, it also points to where: near the equator, within a latitude of 30º north or south. It makes sense that this would be the danger zone because of any given point along the equator — the planet’s widest point — rotates up to 1,000 mph (1,600 k/h) faster than a point closer to the poles, so a slowdown in the overall spin would be more powerful along that midline. The Iran-Iraq quake occurred at about 33º north latitude, exceeding that cartographic limit, but not by much.

None of this says that 2018 will definitely be a more geologically unstable year, and it certainly doesn’t pinpoint where any possible quaking will occur. It does say that the maddeningly imprecise science of earthquake prediction has at least gotten a tiny bit more precise. For disasters with such deadly stakes, even that small improvement makes a difference.

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Israeli rescue team applauded in the streets of Mexico

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israeli rescue team applauded in the streets of Mexico

Dozens of individuals, some waving Mexican flags, spontaneously cheer delegation that is aiding in the search for survivors following earthquake

  • Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, three days after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (iAid)
    Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, three days after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (iAid)
  • Rescuers from Mexico and Israel (olive green) search for survivors in a flattened building in Mexico City on September 21, 2017 two days after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (AFP / Ronaldo SCHEMIDT)
    Rescuers from Mexico and Israel (olive green) search for survivors in a flattened building in Mexico City on September 21, 2017 two days after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (AFP / Ronaldo SCHEMIDT)
  • Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
    Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
  • Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
    Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
  • Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
    Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
  • Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
    Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
  • A man is pulled out of the rubble alive in Mexico City on September 20, 2017 as the search for survivors continues a day after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (AFP PHOTO / Pedro PARDO)
    A man is pulled out of the rubble alive in Mexico City on September 20, 2017 as the search for survivors continues a day after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (AFP PHOTO / Pedro PARDO)
  • Israeli rescue workers are present as the body of Maria Ortiz, who survived the earthquake in Mexico City but died before the rescuers could get to her, is removed on September 22, 2017, three days after the powerful quake that hit central Mexico. (AFP PHOTO / Pedro Pardo)
    Israeli rescue workers are present as the body of Maria Ortiz, who survived the earthquake in Mexico City but died before the rescuers could get to her, is removed on September 22, 2017, three days after the powerful quake that hit central Mexico. (AFP PHOTO / Pedro Pardo)

An Israeli rescue delegation was greeted with spontaneous applause in the streets of a Mexican town Friday, in a show of gratitude for the team’s efforts to aid in the search for survivors following a devastating earthquake Tuesday.

In a video published by Channel 2, dozens of individuals, some waving Mexican flags, can be seen cheering the Israeli rescue team as the delegation crosses their path in a town hit by the earthquake.

A 71-member Israeli delegation from the Home Front Command arrived in Mexico on Thursday, some 48 hours after the 7.1-magnitude quake hit. Two Israeli aid organizations — IsraAID and iAid — also sent delegations to help with the search and rescue efforts.

Anxiety was mounting on Friday as Mexico approached the crucial 72-hour mark after the powerful tremor, and exhausted rescuers raced to locate possible survivors trapped in the rubble.

Authorities put the death toll from Tuesday’s quake at 286 people, but it was expected to rise further with scores still missing in Mexico City.

The Israel Defense Forces said Tuesday that the 71-member delegation was made up of a small search and rescue team, with a majority being engineers who would help assess the structural integrity of buildings in Mexico City and other affected areas.

Locals rescuers said the Israeli teams came with equipment enabling them to detect cell phone signals in the rubble.

Israel did not set up a field hospital yet, but the army has said this could be added in the future.

Members of the 71-member Israeli delegation from the IDF Home Front Command arrive in Mexico on September 21, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israel is often one of the first countries to send humanitarian delegations to countries hit by natural disasters.

Israeli disaster relief delegations provided rescue and medical services after an earthquake in Turkey in 1999, an earthquake in Haiti in 2010, a typhoon in the Philippines in 2013 and, most recently, an earthquake in Nepal in 2015.

The delegation is slated to return on September 29, ahead of the Yom Kippur holiday, the spokesperson said. The IDF chief rabbi granted the delegation special dispensation to travel, as the team was in the air during the Jewish Rosh Hashanah holiday, when such activities are generally avoided under religious law.

Members of the Israeli aid delegation from the IDF Home Front Command arrive in Mexico City, September 21, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Families in waiting

Anguished families watching and waiting at buildings that collapsed with their loved ones inside pleaded with authorities not to send in the bulldozers while there is still hope people could be alive inside — something the government vowed not to do.

“We know she’s alive and we’re not leaving until she leaves with us,” said Olinca Gonzalez, 29, whose father’s wife worked in a Mexico City building that was flattened in the quake.

Families were already circulating fliers reading, “No heavy machinery.”

A crushed car and sofas are seen under a pile of rubble from a collapsed building in Mexico City on September 21, 2017, two days after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (AFP/Pedro Pardo)

President Enrique Pena Nieto promised authorities were not giving up the search.

Experts say the average survival time in such disasters is 72 hours, depending on injuries. But trapped survivors have been known to hang on for many days more, including after a massive earthquake that devastated Mexico City in 1985, killing more than 10,000 people.

The 72-hour period will be up at 1:14 p.m. (18:14 GMT) Friday.

“The rescue and support effort in the buildings that collapsed is still on,” Pena Nieto said during a visit to the state of Puebla, where the epicenter was.

“We are not suspending it. We have to keep up the rescue effort to keep finding survivors in the rubble.”

Volunteer rescuers working through their third straight night fought off growing fatigue to remove tons of rubble at dozens of flattened buildings in the capital and across several central states.

In the capital’s central neighborhood of Roma, rescue workers scrambled to locate 23 people believed to be in the wreckage of a collapsed seven-story office building.

They have already pulled 28 survivors from the mountain of rubble.

Aaron Flores’s sister Karen and friend Paulino Estrada were both trapped inside.

Estrada managed to contact his family by cellphone, even making a video call. But there has been no news from Karen Flores.

“We’re feeling disoriented and desperate because we haven’t heard anything from her,” said her brother, 30.

Soldiers and volunteers remove a crushed car from the rubble in Mexico City on September 22, 2017, three days after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (AFP/ Alfredo Estrella)

At other locations, hope turned to grief.

“At 1:00 p.m. they pulled my mother’s body out of the debris, but identified her under a different name, and it wasn’t until 5:00 p.m. that they gave us the bad news,” said Maria Dolores Martinez, 38, at a Mexico City morgue.

But real stories of hope continued to emerge from the ruins.

In the north of the city, a man who had been trapped for 26 hours — and a 90-year-old woman — were pulled alive from the rubble.

Rescue teams have flown in from the US, Israel, Japan, Spain and numerous Latin American countries.

As rescuers race against the clock to find survivors, others wondered where they will live after the quake damaged an estimated 20,000 homes.

“I’m waiting for the civil protection service to tell me if we can go home or not,” said street vendor Erika Albarran, who has been staying with her family in a shelter for people with no place to go.

Her family has only 100 pesos ($5.50) among them and she doesn’t know how they will manage once assistance such as food, shelter and baby supplies runs out.

“We don’t have cash. We’re living day-to-day,” she said.

Tuesday’s tragedy struck just two hours after Mexico held a national earthquake drill — as it does every year on the anniversary of the 1985 quake.

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New quake spreads alarm, sends Mexicans into streets

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

 

New quake spreads alarm, sends Mexicans into streets

A woman prays after a tremor was felt in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – An magnitude 6.2 earthquake shook southern Mexico on Saturday and was felt in the capital, where seismic alarms sounded, residents ran into the streets and rescuers briefly stopped combing the rubble left by a bigger tremor earlier this week.

The United States Geological Survey said the new quake was relatively shallow and hit near Juchitan, which is a tropical region of Oaxaca state hard hit by another major earthquake on Sept 7.

Already shaken by the two recent earthquakes that have killed at least 380 people in Mexico this month, thousands of people ran out onto the streets again in Oaxaca and Mexico City, some in pajamas when the new tremor shortly before 8 a.m. (1300 GMT).

“I heard the alarm and ran downstairs with my family,” said Sergio Cedillo, 49, who was watching rescuers efforts to find survivors from Tuesday’s quake when the alarm sounded.

No new damage was immediately reported, but rescue efforts were suspended in areas affected by Tuesday’s quake to allow authorities to see if the new tremors would put workers at risk, Luis Felipe Puente, the head of Mexico’s civil protection agency said.

Reporting by Julia Love and Alexandra Alper; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Franklin Paul

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

All Children Accounted For In Collapsed Elementary School In Mexico City

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Mexico City (CNN) The search for a 12-year-old thought to be trapped in a Mexico City elementary school ended Thursday with the news that all students have been accounted for.

But rescuers will continue their work, as signs suggest that someone may still be alive in the rubble, Angel Enrique Sarmiento, Mexico’s sub-secretary of Navy, said Thursday.
For days, Colegio Enrique Rebsamen was the site of a massive search and rescue operation offering a glimmer of hope in the chaotic aftermath of Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 quake. Reports of the missing 12-year-old riveted people across the country, who watched the rescue efforts unfold live on television.
However, as of Thursday afternoon, authorities had determined the whereabouts of all the school’s students, both alive and dead, Sarmiento said.
Authorities have confirmed 25 dead — 19 children and six adults — at the school, and 11 more have been sent to hospitals, he said. But there are indications that someone may still be alive in the rubble, he added.
“We are certain that all the children either passed away, are in local hospitals, or are safe and sound in their houses,” he told reporters.

A look at the Enrique Rebsamen elementary school in Mexico City, which collapsed in the earthquake. The after photo on the right is from Wednesday, September 20, when rescuers continued to search through the rubble.

GOOGLE EARTH/GETTY IMAGES

Two earthquakes in 12 days

The rescue attempt was one of many searches underway Thursday, after the earthquake turned dozens of buildings in central Mexico into dust and debris, killing at least 273 people.
Tuesday’s temblor was the second major one to hit the country in less than two weeks, following an 8.1 magnitude earthquake farther south on September 8, killing nearly 100 people. It hit hours after a citywide drill on the anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that killed an estimated 9,500 people in and around Mexico City.
President Enrique Peña Nieto declared a national emergency, and the country is observing three days of national mourning. An unaccounted number of people are staying at shelters around Mexico City after losing their homes. Schools have closed indefinitely, and millions remain without power.
Despite the president’s request that people stay indoors while rescue attempts continue, residents are joining forces with rescue teams to search for survivors.
In Mexico City’s Condesa section, a large rescue operation was underway Thursday at a collapsed building that had housed an outsourcing company. Elsewhere in the neighborhood, police blocked a road leading to a food processing company that also was damaged.
Cristobal Perres Garcia, 59, said police told him that one of his cousins — a worker at the food processing plant — was among several who died when it collapsed.

A rescue operation is underway Thursday at a collapsed building in Mexico City's Condesa section.

In Puebla state, southeast of Mexico City, the quake crumbled a church, killing a girl who was being baptized and 11 others attending the event, Gov. Tony Gali said. More than 9,700 homes and 100-plus government buildings were damaged in the state, Gali said.
There were more than 100 deaths in Mexico City, one of North America’s most populous metropolises with more than 21 million people. Other deaths included 69 in Morelos state, 43 in Puebla state, 13 in the state of Mexico, four in Guerrero state and one in Oaxaca state, according to Luis Felipe Puente, national coordinator of civil protection for the Interior Ministry.
To provide some scope of the affected area, Oaxaca de Juarez, the capital of Oaxaca state, is almost 480 kilometers (300 miles) from Mexico City.

‘I thought someone was kicking my chair’

About 2,000 public schools were damaged in Tuesday’s quake, Secretary of Public Education Aurelio Nuños said. Sixteen of the 212 affected schools in Mexico City had serious damage, he said.
At the private Colegio Enrique Rabsamen, where rescuers were trying to reach the girl, the temblor caused the school to fold in on itself, sandwiching and collapsing classroom onto classroom.
Foro TV interviewed two girls who said they were doing their English homework as the building began to shake.
Colegio Enrique Rebsamen
“I thought someone was kicking my chair, but I turned around and no one was kicking me,” one girl told the station.
“The English teacher said there was a quake. Our teacher took us to the stairs, and that’s when part of the building started to come down. There was dust everywhere. We couldn’t see.”
The loss of lives weighed heavily on volunteers at the school site such as Ivan Ramos, whose son survived.
“This is a tragedy,” he said. “It’s kids. It will take a long time to heal.”

Strong earthquake shakes Mexico, killing at least 119 people

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Strong earthquake shakes Mexico, killing at least 119 people

 Play Video 1:31
People flee onto streets of Mexico City after powerful earthquake
A 7.1-magnitude earthquake sent people in Mexico City into the streets on Sept. 19, the anniversary of another powerful quake. (Sarah Parnass, Joshua Partlow/The Washington Post)
 September 19 at 7:55 PM
 A 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico on Tuesday, collapsing buildings and killing dozens of people on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that devastated Mexico City.Coming less than two weeks after a deadly temblor off the country’s Pacific coast, and just hours after a siren signaled an annual earthquake drill in the capital, Tuesday’s quake shook the ground with terrifying force, buckling walls and sending panicked residents fleeing into the streets. There were reports of fires and gas leaks.

At least 119 people were reported killed, local officials and news agencies reported. They included 54 people in Morelos state south of Mexico City, 26 in the state of Puebla, nine in the state of Mexico — which surrounds the capital — and 30 in Mexico City.

Residents feared more people were buried under rubble. At least 44 buildings collapsed or partly collapsed in the quake, according to Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera. In the central Mexico City neighborhood of Del Valle, a frantic scene played out Tuesday afternoon as hundreds of people gathered to search for trapped residents. At least two multistory apartment buildings fell, and residents said dozens of people could have been inside. Marines, medical volunteers and regular citizens formed lines to pass trash cans, plastic crates, and plastic barrels to remove debris.

Rescue workers carried at least one person out on a stretcher while helicopters circled.

Victor Arrecha, 25, who lived nearby, said he feared that up to 40 people might have been trapped inside one of the buildings.

“My friends lived there,” he said, looking at the pancaked apartment building directly in front of his house.

Elsewhere, dozens of people were rescued from collapsed buildings.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the quake was 76 miles southeast of the capital, near the town of Raboso in Puebla. (The epicenter is the point on the earth’s surface directly above where the earthquake occurs.) The quake struck at 1:14 p.m. local time, the agency said. There appeared to be widespread damage, including to a major highway connecting Mexico City to Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos, about 35 miles to the south. Authorities closed the Mexico City airport to inspect it for damage.

At the Clínica Gabriel Mancera in Mexico City, more than a dozen hospital beds had been set up on the patio outside as a triage center on Tuesday afternoon. Leticia Gonzalez, a 45-year-old maid in a nearby apartment building, said she tried to race out of the building but that concrete crashed down as she fled. Her right leg was wrapped in a bandage as she grimaced in pain outside the hospital.

“We were all running like crazy,” she said. “This was the worst earthquake I’ve ever seen.”

Marisela Avila Gomez, 58, was in her apartment in the central Narvarte neighborhood in the capital when the shaking began, toppling her furniture and shattering the windows. A piece of glass sliced deep into her right leg.

“My whole house is full of blood,” she said.

Her husband, Francisco Vicente Lozada Garcia, 55, a landscaper, tried to drive across town to get to his wife, but traffic was snarled and the “street felt like gelatin.”

The couple eventually made it to the Clínica Gabriel Mancera, where Avila Gomez was treated.

The earthquake struck less than two weeks after the 8.1-magnitude quake off the Pacific coast of southern Mexico. Scientists said the same large-scale tectonic mechanism caused both events: The larger North American Plate is forcing the edge of the Cocos Plate to sink. This collision generated both quakes. But it was unlikely that the quake earlier this month caused Tuesday’s disaster.

“In general, we don’t think there’s a triggering effect over that kind of a distance,” said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist with the USGS. In California, he said, there have been earthquakes that set off quakes tens of miles away and within hours. This distance was farther and the timeline longer. The recent Mexico quakes also did not share a fault line, he said.

Mexico City is partially built on old lake sediment, which is much softer than rock. The seismic waves can be amplified traveling through the sediment, Blakeman said, making the damage worse than in areas on more solid ground. He said aftershocks were possible, too. The rupture was approximately 50 kilometers, or 31 miles deep, and as a rule, the shallower an earthquake is, the higher the chance for aftershocks. “Fifty kilometers is pretty shallow, so I would expect aftershocks,” Blakeman said.

The USGS’s model for estimating earthquake damage predicts 100 to 1,000 fatalities and economic losses of between $100 million and $1 billion for a temblor of this scale and proximity to population centers.

The quake shook Mexico City so hard that the murky, stagnant waters of the city’s ancient Xochmilco canals were churned up, turning the waterways into rollicking wave pools. Videos posted to social media showed tourists in flat-bottomed tour boats struggling to stay in their seats and hold onto their beers.

Roberta Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, said that one U.S. Embassy worker suffered a broken elbow in the quake but that no other staffers were hurt.

Mexico City has a large U.S. expatriate community, but Jacobson said she had not received reports of American deaths or injuries. “We’re not hearing of U.S. citizens affected yet,” she said in a phone interview, calling Tuesday’s quake the strongest she had experienced. “I was on the fifth floor of the embassy, and it felt like a long roller coaster ride,” she said.

The embassy building, constructed in 1964, did not appear to sustain structural damage, Jacobson added. She said U.S. officials were in touch with Mexican civil defense authorities and had extended offers of assistance.

In a Twitter message Tuesday after receiving news of the quake, President Trump wrote: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.”

President Enrique Peña Nieto was traveling to Oaxaca to inspect the earthquake damage that occurred earlier this month when the latest temblor struck. He turned around and returned to the capital, where he convened a national emergency council.

In the capital’s southern neighborhood of Coyoacan, the walls of colonial-era buildings cracked and sagged in the quake, with some collapsing into rubble. Residents hugged and cried in the streets. At the Barricas Don Tiburcio shop, shelves bearing food crashed down and wine bottles shattered on the floors.

“This is the worst one I have ever felt,” shopkeeper Beatriz Aguilar Bustamante said. “I don’t know if I will have a house when I go home.”

Nick Miroff and Ben Guarino in Washington contributed to this report.

2 Major Earthquakes Shake Central Mexico On The Anniversary Of Tragic 1985 Quake

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE YUCATAN TIMES)

 

Two powerful tremors shake central Mexico on the anniversary of tragic 1985 earthquake

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Around 1 pm Tuesday Sept. 19, two earthquakes with 7.1 and 6.8 points on the Richter scale were recorded in central Mexico, with both shaking Mexico City and with effects felt in other major cities.

The 6.8 point quake had its epicenter seven kilometers west of Chiautla de Tapia, Puebla. The epicenter of the second quake of 7.1 points was 12 kilometers south of Axochiapan, Morelos.

Citizens left immediately from their homes and jobs. Besides the capital, the earthquake was also felt in Cuernavaca, Puebla and smaller cities in Guerrero, Oaxaca and Hidalgo.

The telephone lines are saturated, so it is recommended to the population to use instant messaging.

sismo



The earthquake occurred on the anniversary of the earthquake on September 19, 1985.

During the morning of Tuesday, dozens of buildings were routinely evacuated in the country’s capital, after 11am warning alarms were activated for an simulation exercise, announcing an earthquake, reports La Jornada.

Just over four million people participated in this massive civil protection exercise that is held each year on Sept. 19 to commemorate the 1985 earthquake.

Source: http://sipse.com/

8.2 Earthquake Strikes Mexico Strongest In A Hundred Years: Dozens Killed

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

JUCHITÁN DE ZARAGOZA, Mexico — Thousands of homes in this city were severely damaged. Half of the 19th-century city hall, with its 30 arches, collapsed. The main hospital here was so devastated that staff members evacuated patients to an empty lot and worked by the light of their cellphones.

By the time the earthquake’s tremors finally faded, at least 36 people in Juchitán de Zaragoza were dead.

“It’s a truly critical situation,” Óscar Cruz López, the city’s municipal secretary, said Friday. “The city,” he said, and then paused. “It’s as if it had been bombed.”

Over all, the earthquake — the most powerful to hit the country in a century — killed at least 58 people in Mexico, all of them in the southern part of the country that was closer to the quake’s epicenter off the Pacific Coast.

The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 8.2 and struck shortly before midnight on Thursday, was felt by tens of millions of people in Mexico and in Guatemala, where at least one person died as well.

In Mexico City, the capital, which still bears the physical and psychological scars of a devastating earthquake in 1985 that killed as many as 10,000 people, alarms sounding over loudspeakers spurred residents to flee into the streets in their pajamas.

The city seemed to convulse in terrifying waves, making street lamps and the Angel of Independence monument, the capital’s signature landmark, sway like a metronome’s pendulum.

But this time, the megalopolis emerged largely unscathed, with minor structural damage and only two of its nearly nine million people reporting injuries, neither serious, officials said.

In the southern part of the country, however, at least 10 people died in Chiapas State and three died in neighboring Tabasco, including two children: one when a wall collapsed and the other after a respirator lost power in a hospital, officials said.

Photo

Residents of Mexico City gathered outdoors after an earthquake struck off the Pacific Coast, about 450 miles away, late Thursday. CreditPedro Pardo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Chiapas officials said that more than 400 houses had been destroyed and about 1,700 others were damaged.

In Oaxaca State, at least 45 people were killed, including the 36 in here in Juchitán, a provincial city of 100,000.

“A total disaster,” the mayor, Gloria Sánchez López, declared in a telephone interview in which she appealed for help. “Don’t leave us alone.”

President Enrique Peña Nieto flew to the region on Friday afternoon to assess the damage. And several leaders in Latin America and elsewhere offered assistance to Mexico, including the presidents of Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and Spain.

Mexico is also facing the additional threat of Hurricane Katia, which is gathering strength in the Gulf of Mexico and expected to make landfall in Veracruz State early Saturday.

“You can count on us,” President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia said on Twitter.

Residents in Juchitán spent the morning using backhoes and their bare hands to dig through the wreckage of collapsed buildings and pull the injured, and the dead, from the rubble.

By early afternoon, the efforts had mostly turned from rescues to a cleanup operation, though the municipal secretary, Mr. Cruz, said that workers were still trying to claw through the mounds of debris left by the collapse of the city hall to reach one last victim, a police officer. Nobody knew if he was still alive.

“It is a nightmare we weren’t prepared for,” said a member of the City Council, Pamela Teran, in an interview with a local radio station. She estimated that 20 to 30 percent of the houses in the city were destroyed.

“A lot of people have lost everything, and it just breaks your heart,” she added, bursting into tears.

Mexico City
MEXICO
Earthquakeepicenter
GuatemalaCity
Map data ©2017 Google, INEGI

200 km

With the hospital — the region’s main medical center — destroyed, officials converted a grade school into a makeshift clinic and moved the hospital’s patients and the hundreds of injured survivors there.

Local officials appealed to state and federal governments for aid to help with the recovery.

“It’s impossible to resolve this catastrophe, to respond to something of this magnitude, by ourselves,” Mr. Cruz said.

Aftershocks continued through the day Friday, unnerving the city’s residents, many of whom spent much of the day out in the street rather than return to their homes, said Juan Antonio García, the director of the Juchitán news website Cortamortaja.

Reports of damage elsewhere in the region continued to emerge throughout the afternoon. In Union Hidalgo, just to the east of Juchitán, the mayor reported that about 500 houses had been destroyed.

Schools in at least 10 Mexican states and in Mexico City were closed on Friday as the president ordered an assessment of the damage nationwide.

“We are assessing the damage, which will probably take hours, if not days,” President Peña Nieto said in televised comments to the nation two hours after the quake.

Throughout the day Mexicans lined up at emergency collection centers around the country to donate food, water and other supplies for delivery to the earthquake victims.

Mexico is situated near the colliding boundaries of several sections of the earth’s crust.

The quake on Thursday was more powerful than the one in 1985 that flattened or seriously damaged thousands of buildings in Mexico City.

While the quake on Thursday struck nearly 450 miles from the capital, off the coast of Chiapas State, the one in 1985 was much closer to the capital, so the shaking proved much more deadly.

Photo

Patients in a clinic in Puebla, Mexico, were taken outside after the quake. CreditImelda Medina/Reuters

After the 1985 disaster, construction codes were reviewed and stiffened. Today, Mexico’s construction laws are considered as strict as those in the United States or Japan.

Though many Mexicans have grown accustomed to earthquakes, taking them as an immutable fact of life, Thursday’s quake left a lasting impression on residents of the capital for both its force and duration.

“The scariest part of it all is that if you are an adult, and you’ve lived in this city your adult life, you remember 1985 very vividly,” said Alberto Briseño, a 58-year-old bar manager. “This felt as strong and as bad.”

“Now we will do what us Mexicans do so well: Take the bitter taste of this night and move on,” he added.

The quake occurred near the Middle America Trench, a zone in the eastern Pacific where one slab of the earth’s crust, called the Cocos Plate, is sliding under another, the North American, in a process called subduction.

The movement is very slow — about three inches a year — and over time stress builds because of friction between the slabs. At some point, the strain becomes so great that the rock breaks and slips along a fault. This releases vast amounts of energy and, if the slip occurs under the ocean, can move a lot of water suddenly, causing a tsunami.

Subduction zones ring the Pacific Ocean and are also found in other regions. They are responsible for the world’s largest earthquakes and most devastating tsunamis.

The magnitude-9 earthquake off Japan in 2011, which led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and the magnitude-9.1 quake in Indonesia in 2004, which spawned tsunamis that killed a quarter of a million people around the Indian Ocean, are recent examples.

Those quakes each released about 30 times as much energy as the one in Mexico.

Mexico’s government issued a tsunami warning off the coast of Oaxaca and Chiapas after Thursday’s quake, but neither state appeared to have been adversely affected by waves.

248COMMENTS

In Guatemala, the military was out Friday morning assessing the damage, found mainly in the western part of the country.

In Huehuetenango, bricks and glass were strewn on the ground as walls in the city collapsed. Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second-largest city, which was beginning to recover from a tremor in June, suffered more damage to its historic center.

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This Is A Copy Paste From The N.Y. Times: Honduras Government Clinton Helped Install

 

MEXICO CITY — More than a dozen conspirators gathered at the headquarters of the Honduran National Police just after 9:30 p.m. One of them clicked open a briefcase, and bundles of American dollars were distributed among the police officers — payment for the next day’s hit job.

After everyone else filed out of the room, the three highest-ranking officers stayed behind to make a call.

“Keep watch over the news tomorrow, sir,” one of them said, according to case files gathered by Honduran investigators. “We’ll do it all in the morning, good night, sir.”

They kept their word.

A day later, on Dec. 8, 2009, the top antidrug official in Honduras — the retired general Julián Arístides González Irías — dropped off his daughter at school and was heading to work when he found his usual route blocked. A motorcycle carrying two men pulled up to his Nissan SUV. The one riding at the back pulled out a gun, killing the general.

Outrage at the assassination swept Honduras. The country was still in turmoil after the coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya and turned Honduras into an international outcast. In a country riddled with corruption and division, the retired general was distinguished for his rectitude and efficiency. The authorities promised a swift investigation.

But the case quickly went cold.

At least that is how it appeared to the public. Behind the scenes, according to the case files, the police investigators took just three weeks to solve the murder. The chief suspects were a cell of high-ranking police commanders working hand-in-hand with drug traffickers. The conspiracy reached all the way to the chief of police.

Photo

Police officers searching the SUV where Julián Aristídes González Irías was fatally shot in Tegucigalpa in 2009.CreditOrlando Sierra/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The man at the other end of that evening’s phone call was Winter Blanco, the head of a drug cartel based on the Caribbean coast, according to the investigators’ files. Five months earlier, the antidrug czar had foiled the trafficker’s plan to use the police to steal 143 kilograms of cocaine from a rival. The assassination was payback, investigators concluded.

Two years later, the antidrug czar’s top adviser, Alfredo Landaverde Hernández, was assassinated in exactly the same way, days after he publicly accused police commanders of allowing criminal gangs to infiltrate the police force. Once again, an investigation concluded that the chief suspects were the same commanders, aided by lower-ranking officers. A full report was sent to the police chief. But in public, the case remained unsolved.

Now, the details of the investigations — witness testimony, descriptions of videos, and phone call records — are emerging in Honduras, shaking the country once again. In terse language, the documents paint a chilling portrait of impunity at the very top of Honduras’s police hierarchy: the unchallenged power to carry out assassinations and force a cover-up of the investigation.

The suspicion that the police were part of the murders has long nagged at Hondurans. But with the release of the case files — parts of which were published in the Honduran press before being obtained by The New York Times — the country is now confronted with a glaring example of top-level government corruption and collusion with drug traffickers.

The revelations come at a pivotal time in Honduras, just as an international commission backed by the Organization of American States is setting up in the country to help investigate corruption. At the same time, the Obama administration is in the process of sending about $750 million in aid to the region, hoping to address the chronic violence and lack of opportunity that has fueled a mass exodus of desperate people to the United States.

The effort to suppress the results of two of the country’s most high-profile murder cases came to light only this month, when the newspaper El Heraldo revealed parts of the investigation’s conclusions and published excerpts from the files, without naming any of the most powerful suspects.

Since then, the Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernández, has vowed a mass purge of the police force in response to the evidence, which helps peel back the layers covering the deeply entrenched networks of corruption feeding the country’s violence and poverty.

Photo

Alfredo Landaverde HernándezCreditFernando Antonio/Associated Press

Last year, Oscar Chinchilla, the Honduran attorney general, asked the United States for help in solving the assassinations and Washington provided advisers, Joseph Crook, a State Department spokesman, said.

But the newly obtained case files point to a cover-up. They include cover pages from the inspector general’s office of the Security Ministry, which oversees the National Police. So if Mr. Chinchilla carries out a wide-ranging investigation to show that the government is serious about fighting corruption, it could end up ensnaring some of the president’s allies in the National Party, which has been in office since the beginning of 2010.

“There was a type of pact of silence,” said Thelma Mejía, a Honduran journalist. “These files passed through various police chiefs and they did nothing. They were known by various security ministers and they did nothing.”

The early fallout of the scandal is beginning. Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales, who had also served as the country’s security minister, resigned late Thursday. The first announcements of police firings are expected as early as this weekend. A civilian commission in charge of weeding out corrupt officers has asked for background on the nine top-ranked active generals in the police force, including José Ricardo Ramírez del Cid, a former police chief in 2011 who is named in the case files as the mastermind behind the assassinations.

According to the documents, Mr. Ramírez del Cid was one of the three who stayed behind the night before the antidrug czar was killed in 2009 to place the call to the drug lord. Another was José Luis Muñoz Licona, who was appointed police chief in 2010.

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In interviews broadcast after the El Heraldo report, both officials denied any involvement in the assassinations. So did the police chief at the time of the antidrug czar’s killing, Salomón Escoto Salinas, who is also named in the documents.

The case files leave little doubt that inside the police, at least, the results of the investigation were known. In May 2012, an official in the inspector general’s office sent a copy of documents to the police chief at the time, Juan Carlos Bonilla, noting that he was acting under the orders of the security minister. At the end of 2013, Mr. Bonilla’s replacement as police chief, Ramón Sabillón Pineda, ordered special guards to protect the case files on both assassinations, as well as documents on other high-profile killings.

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Hilda Caldera, center, the widow of the assassinated antidrug official Alfredo Landaverde Hernández, was comforted during his funeral in Tegucigalpa in December 2011. CreditOrlando Sierra/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In remarks to the Honduran news media, four of the security ministers in office since 2009 said that they were not aware of the documents. The fifth refused to comment.

Washington will be watching the police purge closely. It spent millions of dollars on the last effort to overhaul the Honduran police, which began in 2011, before finally giving up two years later when it was clear that only a handful of officers had been fired.

“Despite good intentions, I think our own officials, especially in the past, have sometimes been naïve in the way they have supported the Honduran government’s actions and inactions,” Senator Patrick Leahy, who follows events in Honduras closely, said in written responses to questions.

Mr. Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, successfully pressed Congress to impose human rights and anticorruption conditions on aid to Central American governments this year.

“There is no doubt that our aid is well intentioned,” he wrote. “But despite some arrests of drug traffickers we’ve seen no real improvement in the Honduran justice system.” And, he promised: “It is not going to be business as usual. We can’t keep throwing money away.”

The current Honduran president, Mr. Hernández, has had his own approach to police corruption, creating a military police force that has supplanted much of the National Police force on the ground. The coming police purge is likely to strengthen its power.

The international anticorruption commission sponsored by the Organization of American States arrives this week to begin its work. Known by its Spanish initials, Maccih, it is a response to months of anticorruption protests last year across the country.

Photo

The office of Juan Carlos Bonilla, the chief of police in 2012, was sent a copy of the documents relating to the killings. CreditOrlando Sierra/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The demonstrators, who marched at dusk bearing torches in a challenge to the president, demanded a prosecutors’ commission modeled after the one in neighboring Guatemala, which uncovered a customs bribery ring that brought down that country’s president last year.

Mr. Hernández resisted an accord that would create a panel with the same powers, and the commission he agreed to will not have independent investigatory authority. But the president may find that his control is limited.

In an interview, the director of the incoming group said that it would be up to his team, not the Honduran government, to choose the cases it will work on alongside Honduran prosecutors.

“There should be no doubt that the mission will be involved in cases where there are networks of corruption that harm the country,” said Juan Jiménez Mayor, the former Peruvian justice minister who is leading the commission.

Within days, the commission will start work on its first case, the assassination last month of Berta Cáceres, a prominent environmental and indigenous rights activist who was fighting a powerful Honduran company over a dam project on community land. Facing an international uproar, the government turned to the commission for help.

Even Hondurans who had been skeptical of the limits on the commission were hopeful that it will ultimately lead to widespread investigation into the police and their protectors.

“It is a special time in the country,” said Mario Díaz, a judge and president of the Association of Judges for Democracy, a group that has been critical of the Hernández government. “A lot of expectations have been generated.”

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Honest, Truthful American History

 

On old wooden leaky boats smaller than a rich mans toys

We all climbed in and to this new world we set our sails

There’s some that have joined us who are looking for gold and fame

Most came for the hope of land that they could till in their own name

 

Roanoke Island, Jamestown on the river off the Chesapeake Bay

To Plymouth by the Rock these old creaky boats found their way

Pushed, pulled and chased yet most whites came by their own will

Many really had no choice, poverty and the laws chased them away

 

This strange new world with all this lumber and open land to claim

An extension of Heaven to all white males this land lays in wait

Wait, who are these strange red faces, with arrows pointed our way

Indians, so-called by Captain Columbus and his misfit crews I think

 

America, with all these wide open spaces surely I can make my way

White male land owners ordained, we shall be from sea to shining sea

These Indians don’t matter there just good excuse to use our black powder

What our white mans diseases don’t wipe out we will turn into our slaves

 

America, Valhalla to all white males who have the guts, guns and gold to stay

Kill all the Indian Braves then turn all who are left breathing into our slaves

The Chinese aren’t white so we can use them like dogs to lay our steel highways

Then these Black Devils from Africa, they are only good for work, whips and chains

 

Why should we be forced to stop at our borders whether by land or by the seas

Canada to our north settled by the French so of course we have every right to invade

To our south we burst through their front door to Mexico City we rode without shame

Spanish, Mexicans and them damn Indians, if we killed them all who would care anyway

 

Our gold bought Alaska from those Russians so damn it, no war, we didn’t get to play

Then of course there were those primitive Hawaiians, not knowing what we had in store

With big guns and ships we invaded their Islands, killed half the men, imprisoned their Queen

Now their land is our land as we buried our flag in their sand, you know we always want more

 

Is it through ego or arrogance that why some of us don’t understand the outside world

Why do some roll their eyes and snicker when we say that peace and human rights are our stay

America, I do still believe that she is the best nation to ever give her people a somewhat honest chance

So don’t get angry when others see us different, just look at King George W., Obama and Guantanamo Bay.

 

 

 

 

Damien Parrott

Challenging Believers To “Be” The Church

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