SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake along Mexico’s southern coastline Tuesday was felt hundreds of miles away.
Thousands of people ran into the streets as buildings swayed back and forth. A hospital in Mexico City was evacuated; patients were sent to wait outside until they were given the all-clear.
According to Mexico’s civil protection agency, four people were confirmed dead.
The earthquake was centered just east of the popular tourist destination Huatulco, Oaxaca. According to Mexican officials, the damage was not widespread.
“Right now, we’re working together with the Mexican Army, the Mexican Marines, and the National Guard,” said Ricardo Gamez, personal secretary to the mayor of Huatulco.
“The Mayor, Giovanne González García, has visited hospitals, checking buildings, homes,” he said. “We have a lot of damage. We are doing evaluations of the houses and the buildings.”
Gamez said shelters were set up for anyone in need.
In San Diego County, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina was left with concerns as he has close ties to the coastal town.
“There’s a strong Oaxacan community in southern California, especially San Diego,” said Dedina. “Most hardcore surfers in San Diego know that coast really well.”
Outside of his duties as mayor, Dedina runs Wildcoast, an international team that conserves coastal marine ecosystems and wildlife, including sea turtles in Mexico.
“We have an office in Huatulco, our office received some damage I talked to our staff member there who was shaken up and in the office when the earthquake happened,” he said. “Talked to our interns, we have two paid interns that come from an indigenous community where they work to protect sea turtles; they were on the road near the epicenter when it happened.”
Dedina said all three people were not injured.
“It’s really a remarkable place in Mexico and probably some of the warmest, friendliest people on the planet,” he said. “Very shocked when we heard this happened and wishing our best to all our friends in Oaxaca.”