• No Filipino casualties, so far, in Mexico quake, says foreign affairs


    THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday that it has not received reports of any Filipino casualty in the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked Mexico City Tuesday, local time.

    More than 100 people were killed and a still undetermined number of individuals were injured when the powerful quake destroyed several structures in the capital and surrounding areas, including the building that housed the Philippine embassy.

    The DFA said that despite the damage the embassy sustained, Ambassador Eduardo de Vega and the other members of the embassy staff were able to make their way out of the building unhurt.

    De Vega, in an initial report to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, said most of the 11-member staff rushed out of the building when debris started to fall after the earthquake struck.

    Filipino diplomats immediately checked the condition of the 60-member Filipino community in Mexico City to make sure that all were safe and accounted for.

    The embassy occupies the first two floors of an eight-story office building in the Cuauhtemoc neighborhood near the city center.

    “So far, the DFA said the embassy has not received reports of any Filipino casualty,” the foreign affairs department said in a statement.

    The Philippines, at the same time, offered its sympathy and prayers to Mexico.

    “We offer our sympathies to the Mexican Government and to those who lost their loved ones in this tragedy,” added Cayetano who is in New York attending the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

    The tremor came less than two weeks after a powerful 8.1 magnitude quake hit the southern coast of Mexico.

    Authorities are expecting the number of fatalities to rise from the latest tremor, which struck on the anniversary of a deadly 1985 earthquake that leveled the capital and left thousands of people dead. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA



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