MEXICO CITY – The death toll from the massive magnitude-8.2 earthquake that struck just off Mexico’s southern Pacific coast climbed to 65 on Saturday after four more fatalities were confirmed – three in the state of Chiapas and one in Oaxaca.
“There are 65 people dead, 15 of whom were in Chiapas, 46 in Oaxaca and four in Tabasco,” Civil Protection’s national coordinator, Luis Felipe Puente, told Milenio Television.
The official said the discovery of the body of a municipal police officer in Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca state, raised the death toll to 37 just in that municipality, the hardest hit by Thursday night’s earthquake.
President Enrique Peña Nieto had said Friday during a tour of Juchitan that 61 people had died: 45 in the southern state of Oaxaca, 12 in the southeastern state of Chiapas and four in the southeastern state of Tabasco.
On Saturday, authorities recovered the body of 36-year-old Juan Jimenez, a police officer who was buried under the rubble of Juchitan’s city hall building.
His corpse was found at 1 pm local time (1800 GMT).
On Saturday morning, his sister, Margarita Jimenez, told EFE she still was holding out hope he might be found alive under the building’s wreckage.
People have been sitting outside their homes or at an open-air shelter set up by local authorities and remained concerned about the frequent, powerful aftershocks that continue to be felt in the city.
Landslides occurred near Juchitan, sending large rocks onto a road linking that town to the tourist development of Huatulco.
Other areas of Oaxaca’s Pacific coast were spared heavy damage from the earthquake, which had an impact in more than 10 states nationwide and was felt by up to 50 million people.