A new earthquake on the very day of the tragic 1985 feeds the worst ghosts

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As a macabre nightmare that is repeated, Mexicans are shocked after the last earthquake of 7.1 on the Richter scale that has already caused more than 200 deaths and was fattened in Mexico City, where a September 19, 1985 another strong earthquake killed thousands of people.

“This film I lived in 1985. I lived it and I am from here (the neighborhood) of Rome,” one of the areas most affected by both telluric movements, said José Ángel Quimber.

This resident of the capital is one of the thousands of “unknown heroes”, who launched to remove debris in the earthquake of 1985 and that of Tuesday, with epicenter in the state of Morelos.

32 years ago, the tragedy caused 45,000 deaths, according to civil organizations, and 20,000 according to official figures.

It took place at 0717 hours in the morning, when most of the citizens were preparing to go to work or to schools and were surprised by an earthquake of magnitude 8.1 on the Richter scale.

It destroyed the capital of the country, leaving imprinted in the retina of millions of citizens the memory of a desolate city that fought for months to end the ruins of the collapsed buildings, among them hospitals, schools and hotels.

“People have panic, but there were many things that they remember (to 1985) and they have magnified. There are many feelings that are coming up,” said Carmen Almazán, director of a kindergarten that, fortunately, did not suffer any damage.

The earthquake on Tuesday – which was also felt strongly in the states of Morelos, Puebla and the State of Mexico – occurred just two hours after a national simulation in Mexico City followed by millions of capital.

At 1100 o’clock (1600 GMT), they left their offices or houses in an exercise that is repeated every year to commemorate the victims and prevent future dangers.

In the central zócalo, almost a thousand people were evacuated from the palace of the Government of the City of Mexico, in a time of eight minutes after the seismic alert was activated.

It was a hypothesis, an earthquake of magnitude 8 with epicenter in Guerrero (south). And the people took the drill responsibly but quietly.

Nothing predicted that two hours later, at 13.14 local (18.14 GMT), a real earthquake would hit the capital with force, unleashing scenes of panic and road chaos.

Because of its proximity, the seismic alert – which sounds in more than 8,000 loudspeakers installed in the streets of the city – barely gave reaction time.

“In this building, it felt horrible, but it did not happen to older people. This was the worst bastard of all,” said rotunda Alicia Trejo, from an old and cracked building that resisted the 1985 earthquake but now presents structural problems, he said.

This house, where his mother lives today, is located in the Roma colony, one of the most affected in both earthquakes.

Trejo watched as the rescue efforts did not stop in a collapsed building on the Miguel Aleman Viaduct with Monterrey Street.

Enormously worried, because her own house, a few meters from the fallen building, had leaned after the earthquake and had evicted all residents.

“I sent my mother to my sister’s house, but I stayed here with my children, she entered Union Tepito (a criminal group) in the area and they started to steal and loot homes, you leave and they leave you in the street” she said in a frightened voice.

Mexico lives days without respite. On September 7, there was the largest earthquake since 1932 in the country.

It was 8.2 on the Richter scale and shook strongly south and center of the country leaving 98 dead and hundreds of thousands of victims.

The earthquake struck the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, one of the poorest in the country, where thousands of families continue to live in makeshift camps and this week, the census of the affected households is hardly finished.

Martí Quintana

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