The Philippines offered its sympathy and prayers to Mexico after a powerful earthquake rocked the capital past noon on Tuesday, leaving at least 61 people dead and undetermined number injured.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said the magnitude 7.1 temblor sent a number of structures crumbling and left many others, including the building housing the Philippine Embassy, badly damaged.
The DFA said that despite the damage the Embassy sustained, Filipino diplomats were able to check the condition of the 60-member Filipino Community in Mexico City to make sure all are safe and accounted for. So far, the DFA said the Embassy has not received reports of any Filipino casualty.
“The people of Mexico are again in our thoughts and prayers today,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said in a statement from New York where he is attending the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
“We offer our sympathies to the Mexican Government and to those who lost their loved ones in this tragedy,” Secretary Cayetano added.
The Secretary also said he is thankful that Ambassador Eduardo de Vega and the other members of the embassy staff were able to make their way out of the chancery unhurt.
“We are all a bit shaken but otherwise all of us from the Embassy are all right,” Ambassador De Vega said in a text message to Secretary Cayetano.
Ambassador De Vega said he and most of the 11-member staff rushed out of the embassy when debris started falling down the walls and ceiling shortly after the earthquake struck.
Ambassador De Vega said the Embassy occupies the first two floors of an eight-story office building in the Cuauhtemoc neighborhood near the city center.
It was the second earthquake Ambassador De Vega experienced within a two-week period. The Filipino envoy was attending an official function in Oaxaca province on 7 September when a magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck the region and killed at least 54 people.
Authorities are expecting the number of fatalities to rise from today’s tremor, which struck on the anniversary of a deadly 1985 earthquake that leveled the capital and left thousands of people dead. | DFA