The Mexican government has initiated emergency protocols following the largest earthquake to strike the country in decades.
At least 26 people have died, including two children, as a result of a massive 8.4 magnitude earthquake that shook the southern coast of Mexico, Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat Hinojosa has announced.
According to Secretary of the Interior Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, at least three died in the state of Chiapas, where the quake was felt most strongly.
Shortly after, the governor of the state of Tabasco informed that two children died in the state. One when a wall collapsed in their home, and the other was an infant in a hospital whose ventillator lost power.
The official death toll is expected to rise as damage is assessed and reports of further casualties circulate.
The quake was felt strongly in the capital, Mexico City, where buildings rocked and power was cut in some zones.
Tsunami alerts were sounded across Central America, in parts of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras.
No immediate reports of casualties or severe damage have yet been reported, however authorities are currently assessing possible damages.
According to the SSN, the earthquake’s point of origin was located around 137 kilometers (76 miles) southwest of Tonala, in the state of Chiapas, at a depth of 33 km (21 miles).
Residents in Guatemala were also shaken by the quake. Reportedly the city of Quetzaltenango are without power, and firefighters have gone out to assess possible damages.
Following the original quake, two aftershocks registering at magnitudes 6.1 and 5.8 were registered in Mexican coastal territory.
Videos of shaking buildings circulated on social media as residents fled their buildings onto the streets.
The Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto activated a National Emergency Committee following the earthquake.
“The Civil Protection protocols have been activated, including the National Emergency Committee, after the earthquake with a magnitude 8.0 intensity,” the presidents said on his twitter account.
Nieto said that he directed emergency organizations of the government to “monitor, evaluate, and take actions” as necessary in the face of the earthquake’s effects. The National Center of Disaster Prevention is beginning to evaluate the effects of the quake within Mexican territory.
Nieto announced that Chiapas is in an official state of emergency, and that 11 states would have canceled school classes. He warned of the risk of high intensity aftershocks during the next 24 hours.
“Since 1932 there has not been an earthquake of this magnitude,” the President said. “It is a major earthquake. There may be structural damage in both buildings and homes,” he said.