Earthquakes Rattle Mexico: Hundreds of Homes Destroyed, Damaged

PHOTO: Emergency workers inspect a portion of a bridge that buckled after an earthquake was felt in Mexico City, Tuesday March 20, 2012.PlayAP
WATCH Mexico's 7.4 Earthquake Damaged Hundreds of Homes

Two new earthquakes shook nearly 20 million people overnight in Mexico, which was already rattled Tuesday by a massive 7.4-magnitude tremor that ranked as one of the strongest in the country since a quake killed thousands almost 27 years.

The epicenter of Tuesday's quake took place in Guerrero state, which sits about 115 miles outside the popular beach resort Acapulco. The quake even shook the capital of Mexico City, which was devastated by the 1985 quake that claimed the lives of at least 10,000 people.

"It sounded like thunder," one woman said. "We tried to stay calm and not trample each other."

Nine people were injured in Oaxaca and two in Mexico City, but no one had died in Tuesday's quake, Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire said late Tuesday night. Minimum damage was reported in Mexico City, where Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said that phone lines were down and some areas were without power.

The border area of Oaxaca and Guerrero were hit hardest Tuesday. Officials confirmed that 800 homes sustained serious damage while 60 collapsed. Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre is headed to the city of Ometepec, where, according to the Associated Press, he has ordered emergency crews and civil protection to aid in the recovery effort.

Lawmakers evacuated Mexico's parliament in the middle of hearings during the tremor, while office workers poured into the streets, afraid to go back inside.

"I felt a sudden drop and then everything started to tremble," one survivor told ABC News.

The quake reportedly swayed tall buildings near its epicenter. As it struck, tourists evacuated high-rise hotels, and footage of one resort pool shows water violently spilling over the sides.

"We were on the 20th floor, everything started shaking, and the windows were shaking and I sat on the floor. It was scary. I never felt anything like that," one woman vacationing in Mexico told ABC News.

Among the Americans was 13-year-old first daughter Malia Obama, who was on a school trip with friends. The White House said she is safe and was never in any danger.

Guerrero has suffered similar major quakes in the past that resulted in many fatalities, including a 7.9-magnitude quake in 1957, which killed an estimated 68 people and a 7.4 in 1995 the killed three.

The U.S. Geological Survey set the preliminary magnitude of the first quake at 7.4, saying that the epicenter was 11 miles underground, the AP reported.

Heavy damage and casualties were limited because of where and how the earthquake hit, according to seismologists and civil protection officials.