Things That Matter

Mexico Was Rattled By A Massive Earthquake And This Is What It Was Like In The Country’s Capital

Mexico woke up today to the sounds of sirens which gave way to intense shaking from the southern state of Chiapas to the capital, Mexico City. Although the country is no stranger to strong earthquakes, the trauma of 2017’s massive quake is still raw and sent many residents into a state of panic as the alarms sounded.

Here in Mexico City, the shaking was intense despite being some 300 miles from the epicenter of the 7.4 quake – which was located in Oaxaca. At least one death has been attributed to the quake, millions are without power, and millions more are wondering when the next one will hit.

Note: this is a developing story and we will update it as more information becomes available.

A preliminary 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the southern coast of Mexico and was felt throughout the region.

Credit: Tomas Bravo / Getty Images

Mexico has been hit by a large earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4, centered along the coastline of southern Oaxaca state. Although the epicenter was some 300 miles from the capital of Mexico City, strong shaking was felt in the nation’s capital – as well as as far away as Veracruz, Guatemala and El Salvador.

The quake has knocked out power to millions, damaged several buildings, and triggered tsunami warnings up and down the Mexican coastline.

A report from Reuters said that at least one person was killed in Oaxaca as a result of the quake.

In Mexico City, residents fled their homes for the relative safety of the streets amid violent shaking.

Credit: Tomas Bravo / Getty Images

Living in Mexico City, I can confirm that the shaking was super strong here in the capital – especially in Colonia Roma. Many had to scramble to their knees to avoid falling over or to hold onto a car or building to steady themselves amid the strong shaking.

More than anything, it was also a very loud earthquake. The sound of the earth underneath a massive city shaking violently is extremely loud and almost as terrifying as the actual shaking.

For almost an hour after the initial shaking, many residents were still outside in the streets, too afraid to go back inside their homes. And with good reason – as of early afternoon there have already been more than 150 aftershocks.

Standing outside among my neighbors, one thing was painfully obvious: the trauma of the 2017 earthquake is still fresh on many people’s minds. Many were scared to tears.

Videos of the shaking quickly made their way onto social media.

From buildings swaying into each other, the ground moving beneath people’s feet, and the inside of people’s homes being violently tossed from side to side, videos of the quake have quickly gone viral.

One such video showed a hospital in Mexico City suffering extensive damage as it was violently shaken from side to side.

One thing is for sure: the city’s earthquake warning system worked perfectly.

Most of Mexico City is equipped with an early earthquake warning system. And it can be credited for saving lives. In my neighborhood, La Roma, we had a good 30-45 second warning before the shaking actually began. In fact, the alarm gave us so much warning that many of us thought it was just a test – because in the past the shaking typically starts just mere seconds after the alarm.

Since the 2017 earthquake, which killed hundreds, Mexico has been hard at work at fine tuning the alarm system. They have invested some 450 million pesos ($20 million USD) into additional sensors and sirens strategically placed around populated areas to better alert residents – and it seems to have paid off.

Mexico is no stranger to strong quakes – having been hit by even larger ones in 2017 and 1985.

Credit: Luis Alberto Cruz Hernandez / Getty Images

Mexico is one of the world’s most seismically active regions and has a long history of devastating earthquakes. The country is located on top of three large tectonic plates and their movement causes regular quakes and occasional volcanic eruptions.

In 2017, two powerful earthquakes hit the country in two weeks, toppling buildings, cracking highways and killing hundreds of people. One had a magnitude of 7.1 and the other a magnitude of 8.1.

Meanwhile, the nation’s capital – Mexico City, is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because it was built on a former lakebed. Most of the city’s 20 million residents live above very soft and wet ground which amplifies shaking and is prone to liquefaction, in which dirt transforms into a dense liquid when sufficiently churned. This is why even weaker earthquakes are often felt more strongly in Mexico City than other parts of the country.

Despite the large earthquake, Mexicans are taking it all in stride and a string of memes have already hit the Internet mocking the ridiculousness of 2020.

In a matter of minutes, memes depicting just how crazy 2020 is – from COVID to earthquakes – had already taken over Mexican Twitter.

And if this one isn’t all too real:

Given the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, this one is super relatable. As I ran out of my apartment to the street, I had to run back inside to grab that mask. #SafetyFirst

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Shocked Workers Find A ‘Giant Rat’ Inside Mexico City’s Sewer System

Things That Matter

Shocked Workers Find A ‘Giant Rat’ Inside Mexico City’s Sewer System

@NataliedeRosas / Twitter

The year 2020 seems to be the year that just won’t stop throwing us curve balls. In its latest attempt to shock and terrorize us, workers in Mexico City’s sewer system have found what appears to be a giant rat inside the system. The photos and video are straight out of a horror film.

Some on social media quickly wondered if this wasn’t an actual Master Splinter of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame. But it turns out that the ‘giant rat’ has a far more normal origin story.

Images of a ‘giant rat’ from Mexico City’s sewer system quickly went viral on social media.

In what many are calling another sign of the apocalypse brought to us by the year 2020, Mexico City cleanup crews discovered what looked like a monster drowned rat while dredging the sewers. The giant-size “rodent” was part of 22 tons of litter the workers had removed from the city’s drainage tunnels following heavy rains, according to the Border Report.

During the cleanup process, the workers reportedly turned a corner and encountered what they described as a “giant rat,” which sat hunched over and sported incredibly realistic fur. As it turns out, the ’giant rat’ was actually a Halloween prop that had been washed out of its warehouse by the storm. The decoration somehow ended up in the labyrinthine network of sewer tunnels, where it sat undiscovered for years — until now.

Apparently, the ‘giant rat’ was a homemade Halloween decoration that went missing after a rainstorm.

Since the ‘rodents’ discovery, a woman named Evelin López has come forward to claim the rat, which she reportedly created from scratch for Halloween. Lopez said it had gone missing “years ago” during a torrential downpour, and no one could help her retrieve it.

Fortunately, the monster rat appears to be in safe hands — as a now-viral video shows it being hosed off on the street by sewer workers after being rescued from its subterranean lair. Witnesses told El universal that they marveled at the “beast’s” naturalistic appearance, and as can be expected many admitted that they’d of gone running in fear if they had seen it on the street.

The rat’s rightful owner said she has no idea what to do with her “Princess Bride”-evoking prop. Social-media pundits suggest recycling the beast for this year’s Halloween festivities — provided they hose it off a few more times first.

Unfortunately, the rat was discovered only because crews cleaned up debris after a woman drowned following torrential rains.

The ‘giant rat’ / Halloween prop was discovered to have caused a flood which drowned a 54-year-old woman trapped inside her apartment. The woman that died was named in local media reports as Doña Mari. She was 54 and drowned in her home after the water flooded into her residence.

The water caused furniture to move and block the door trapping her inside and drowning her. Her body was discovered by a neighbor, who went looking for her after realizing she wasn’t with other residents who had congregated outside after leaving their homes due to the flooding.

Authorities cleaned the drainage system in the area in hopes of reducing the flooding, and that is when they found the giant fake rat.

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Peeing On Escalators: The Curiously Gross Case Of Mexico City’s Subway System

Culture

Peeing On Escalators: The Curiously Gross Case Of Mexico City’s Subway System

ThatGayGringo / Instagram

Mexico City subway users often complain about malfunctioning escalators that keep breaking down continually. In any given CDMX metro station, you’ll find that escalators are out of order more often than they are functioning. And city officials have offered an explanation that shocked no one—people are peeing on them so much that escalators are corroding. Yup, you read that right.

Of the system’s 467 escalators, 22 are out of service on any given day.

Travelers on the Mexico City subway system often blame authorities for broken-down escalators at subway stops, but Metro officials have another explanation. Somehow, urine is penetrating and corroding the drive wheels and mechanisms of the escalators that carry riders up from underground stations.

One-quarter of escalator breakdowns on the Mexico City Metro are caused by people urinating on them, according to authorities.

The deputy manager of mechanical installations, Fermín Rafael Ramírez Alonso, said that Tacubaya and Chabacano are among the most affected stations.

Maybe—just maybe— stop peeing on escalators?

Ramírez urged users not to urinate on escalators or other Metro installations, because of the damage it causes. “When we open up escalators for maintenance, there is always urine,” Ramírez said.

But another issue is that there are no public bathroom facilities available.

Most stations have no public bathroom facilities, a fact Twitter users were quick to point out, noting there are not even any pay toilets. “More than this being an issue about ethics or manners, I think that this is happening because of a lack of free and accesible bathrooms in the city,” tweeted one user.

Ramirez also said that other causes for breakdowns include excessively heavy loads, running on the stairs, imbalance on the stairs and objects falling between them.

“There are even users who cut the stairs with knives or other sharp objects, of which we have examples in Tacubaya,” he said, surprising absolutely not one of Mexico City’s users. Many metro users know that vendors even sell knives on subway carriages, as was noted by this tweet.

The biggest problem, subway authorities admit, is that many escalators are old, or have been damaged by rough use.

The city plans to replace about 55 escalators over the next two years. With over 1.6bn rides per year, the Mexico City subway is considered the eighth largest in the world by some measures, and one of the cheapest: a 25¢ ticket will get you a single ride to any destination on the 140-mile (226km) system. Just remember to use the bathroom before setting out.

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