August 11, 2006

Earthquake rocks Mexico

By Anahi Rama

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - An earthquake rattled Mexico City
on Friday with a force that sent people fleeing onto the
streets in panic and revived memories of a devastating 1985

No casualties or major damage were immediately reported
after the 9:30 a.m. quake.

"It was very short but it felt really strong," said
74-year-old Juana Ruiz in the city's Spanish colonial center,
which was devastated by the earthquake 21 years ago that killed
at least 12,000 people.

The 5.9-magnitude quake was centered in the western state
of Michoacan, about 126 miles southwest of the Mexican capital
of 20 million people, according to the U.S. National Earthquake
Information Center.

"For the moment, there are no reports of emergencies. Only
panic attacks. It's minimal. No buildings fell," said a
spokesman for Mexico City emergency services.

An official in Michoacan also reported no major damage.

Mexican authorities said the epicenter was near the town of
Huetamo, on the border of Michoacan and Guerrero states.

The center of Mexico City sits on the soft bed of a drained
lake and shakes easily with earthquakes.

Students at the capital's UNAM university, the biggest in
Latin America, ran out of the library in fear.

"I went out as well. I didn't want to die in the library,
squashed by books," said anthropology student Hector Parra.

Some hospitals in Mexico City evacuated patients who were
able to walk but there was no full-scale evacuation.

Office worker Lucero Martinez, 48, went through the 1985
earthquake and said Friday's was not big in comparison.

"You get scared but after going through such a strong one
nothing frightens you as much," she said outside her office in
the city center.

Some 2.6 million people poured out of buildings in the
capital in September in an evacuation drill to mark 20 years
since the 1985 earthquake, which laid waste to parts of the
city center.

(Additional reporting by Frank Jack Daniel and Catherine