Dutch man survives Mexico earthquake: "Felt like building was lifted and put down again"
Dutch physiotherapist Jaime Willems was working in a hospital in the Mexican city of Puebla when a powerful earthquake hit on Tuesday, local time. The earthquake measured 7.1 on the Richter scale and already claimed the lives of 224 people. "It felt like the building was lifted and put down again twenty times in a row", Willems said to RTL Nieuws.
When the earthquake shook the hospital on its foundations, panic broke out. "Some of the people wanted to get outside as quickly as possible, others prayed on the steps. I prefer to rely on my legs rather than God in such a situation, so I - with my patient - went outside as quickly ass possible", he said to the broadcaster.
Willems since returned home to his wife and kids. The neighborhood where they live, did not sustain significant damage. The situation in the Puebla city center is much worse, with many collapsed buildings. "It is sad, but such disasters always affects the poorer people", Willems said. "I have not been in the center yet, it's chaos and also unsafe. The first hour after the earthquake, there were a lot of armed robberies because the police were absent."
Tuesday was the 32nd anniversary of a major earthquake in Mexico City, in which 10 thousand people were killed. A commemoration of that anniversary was held just two hours before this earthquake hit, according to RTL. The epicenter of the earthquake was only 120 kilometers southeast of Mexico city, in the state of Puebla.
The death count currently stands at 224, though this number is expected to increase. Many buildings collapsed and people could be lying under the ruins. According to television channel Televisia, eight school children and one teacher were killed by the earthquake in Mexico City. Eleven kids are still missing.
At least 3.8 million people are currently without power.
According to Willems, this is not the first, and probably not the last, earthquake he's lived through in Mexico. "If you live here, you know that you may face it", he said to the broadcaster. "Nothing can be done about it."
Unbelievable coordination by volunteers at the site of a collapsed building on Roma Norte, Mexico City pic.twitter.com/p7p52qPHnG— Robbie Whelan (@RWhelanWSJ) September 20, 2017