ACAPS Briefing Note – Mexico and Guatemala Earthquake, 11 September 2017
On 7 September, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck Mexico’s southern Pacific Coast, about 8km southwest of Pijijiapan in Chiapas state. A related 7.6 earthquake occurred in Guatemala the same evening. Aftershocks were still being reported in Mexico as of 10 September.
In Mexico, 90 people were killed and at least 200 injured. Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Tabasco states were most affected. Damage to shelter has been reported, with people still sleeping outdoors for fear of more collapses. Health and school infrastructures also suffered damage, mostly in Oaxaca state. There are concerns that food shortages will arise as shops remain closed and road damage restricts movement.
In Guatemala, an estimated 4,500 people were affected. No casualties were reported but two people were injured. Most affected departments were Huehuetenango, Quetzaltenango, Quiché, San Marcos, Suchitepéquez and Totonicapan. Houses were damaged and health and education provision disrupted.
Anticipated scope and scale
The earthquake affected several states of Mexico, most notably Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Tabasco states, while resulting in minor damage in Guatemala. Shelter destruction and damage to health and education infrastructure is most notable. However, there are also risks of food shortages in Oaxaca in Mexico as stores remain closed and prices are increasing. Ongoing floods in Guatemala and recent mudslides in Mexico create additional vulnerabilities. Response is likely to be hampered by damaged infrastructure and heavy rains, which will maintain needs and increase the risk of disease spreading. More rains are forecasted in the next few days.