Mexico raised the earthquake death toll to at least 15. 10 of those deaths occurred in Oaxaca, near the epicenter.

Footage from Foro TV shows rescue efforts in Mexico City after the quake.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Friday said a major earthquake off his nation’s southern coast is the largest to strike there in a century.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported the earthquake’s magnitude at 8.1, but Pena Nieto quoted local calculations calling it an 8.2.

The earthquake killed at least five people, toppling houses and at least one hotel as electricity disappeared and people fled into the streets in panic.

Officials said the death toll could rise as they assess the natural disaster’s damage, and the Mexican government on Friday closed schools in at least 11 states to check them for safety.

Some Twitter users on Friday voiced alarm at the earthquake, which the USGS said struck about 11:49 p.m. local time.

The USGS reported that the earthquake’s epicenter was 102 miles west of Tapachula in Chiapas, a Mexican state which is close to Guatemala.

The phenomenon’s depth was also 43.3 miles, and it caused buildings to sway in Mexico City more than 650 miles away.

“The house moved liked chewing gum and the light and internet went out momentarily,” said Rodrigo Soberanes, who lives near San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas.

The Angel of Independence could be seen shaking. Credit: Twitter/Kevin El Oso

Chiapas Gov. Manuel Velasco said that three people were killed in San Cristobal, including two women who died when a house and a wall collapsed.

“There is damage to hospitals that have lost energy,” he said. “Homes, schools and hospitals have been damaged.”

Tabasco Gov. Arturo Nunez said that two children had died in his Gulf Coast state, with one killed when a wall collapsed.


Nunez added that the other victim was a baby who died in a children’s hospital that lost electricity, shutting down its ventilator.

Pena Nieto said that 1 million customers initially lost electricity in the aftermath of the earthquake, but it has since been restored to 800,000 people.

Major traffic jams in Mexico City after the earthquake hit. Credit: Twitter/husseinforzan

Thursday’s earthquake came as Mexico was steeling itself for another natural disaster on the other side of the country.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Hurricane Katia, a Category 2 storm, is likely to hit the Mexican state of Veracruz early Saturday, bringing with it life-threatening floods.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.