Sunday, March 3, 2024

Earthquake Strikes U.S.-Mexico Border

On Sunday evening, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake occurred in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, jolting millions of people from Los Angeles and San Diego to Phoenix and scattering destruction along the U.S.-Mexico border. It was the region’s most powerful earthquake in decades, but damage was limited in part because the temblor had a shallow depth of only six miles.

Emergency services on both sides of the border scrambled to assess damages and rescue victims. Most of the damage occurred in the twin border cities of Calexico, Calif., and Mexicali, Mexico, where at least two people were reported killed and several injured.

Witnesses reported feeling a strong, rolling series of shakes in a dozen or more towns and cities interrupting many Easter celebrations.

Olga Jimenez, a water-company worker in Mexicali, said, “It’s really ugly here. We felt a really big shake. The walls on houses fell down and people were running in the streets screaming.”

Alfredo Escobedo, head of local emergency services in Mexicali, told reporters at least one person was killed in Mexicali by falling debris. A second man was killed when, as the ground shook, he panicked and ran into the street and was struck by a car.

“It’s a disaster over there,” said Nayeli Ramirez, 17, after crossing into Calexico.

“Buildings are tipped up. Cars are smashed. It’s horrible. Everyone is running.”

In Calexico’s older central district, stores suffered damages as windows were broken and goods had tumbled off store shelves. Calexico’s downtown is currently shut down.

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the magnitude of the quake at 7.2 — equal to the force that devastated the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince earlier this year. It was the third major quake in the Western Hemisphere in the last three months, following earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.

The quake hit about 3:40 p.m. local time, lasted about 35 seconds and was followed 16 minutes later by a magnitude 3.9 shaker near Borrego Springs, Calif., and, separately, a magnitude 4.1 temblor six miles southwest of Malibu in the Pacific Ocean.

LA Times

CS Monitor