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Mexico quake death toll 61 as rescue efforts begin

Mexico quake death toll 61 as rescue efforts begin

Authorities warn of the possible appearance of a new strong aftershocks. The worst scenes of destruction were witnessed in the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.

Rescue efforts following the quake, which struck the nation's Pacific Coast late on Thursday, were focussing on the worst-hit states of Tabasco, Oaxaca and Chiapas.

The natural disaster hit at 23:50 local time on Thursday in Mexico and caused tremors to be felt and panic to set miles away in Mexico City, the capital. Till now, there have been 45 deaths reported in Oaxaca, 12 in Chiapas and 4 in Tabasco.

The natural disaster of magnitude 8.1 quake, which was felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City, was also registered off Mexico's southern coast just as heavy rains from Hurricane Katia lashed the east.

Quake lights have been reported around the world for decades - with some claiming it's a natural phenomenon, and others claiming it's due to structural damage.

The epicentre of the quake was 165 kilometers (102 miles) west of Tapachula in Chiapas, not far from Guatemala.

The quake was apparently stronger than a devastating 1985 temblor that flattened swathes of Mexico City and killed thousands, but this time, damage to the city was limited.

A tsunami was confirmed in Mexico, with the largest wave at 0.7 metres (2.3 feet).

One of the worst hit towns was Juchitán, in Oaxaca, where at least 17 deaths were reported. Earlier, the governor of Tabasco, Arturo Nunez, said two children had died in his state.

With rescue workers still searching for survivors, the death toll could continue to rise, officials warned.

Thousands of people were evacuated in the coasts of Chiapas, where tsunami warnings were triggered, which was later lifted. It said the threat was still being evaluated for Hawaii, Guam and other Pacific islands.

Another 200 people were injured, President Enrique Peña Nieto said, as he declared a national day of mourning, BBC reported.