When last night I saw the words "magnitude 7.6" and "Mexico City" on my computer screen, I was sure I would be seeing reports of thousands of deaths and injuries by this morning.
A 7.4-magnitude earthquake near Acapulco yesterday rattled the resort town and caused buildings to sway in Mexico City even as officials cited improved preparedness for preventing deaths and widespread damage after a devastating 1985 temblor.
“Buildings and skyscrapers are much more resistant than they were in 1985,” Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard told reporters yesterday. “All of the construction standards have been changed.”
Power was knocked out and windows shattered in several of the capital’s neighborhoods. A section of a pedestrian bridge collapsed on a minibus, injuring one person, and a traffic overpass will have to be demolished after it began to crack, Ebrard said. Even so, there were no reports of any major damage nor were there any fatalities, President Felipe Calderon said yesterday.
I don't believe that all the constructions standards have changed-reports of 800 collapsed houses in Igualapa suggest that luck (about where it hit)--rather than comprehensively improved and enforced building codes--might better account for the relative lack of damage.
But luck is good news, too.
(Even so, if 800 houses collapsed, I have to imagine many more people have been injured than initial reports are suggesting.)