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Death toll in Mexico quake rises to 96

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September 12, 2017

Governor of the Mexican state of Oaxaca Alejandro Murat inspects the damage after a big earthquake.

A powerful earthquake that struck Mexico last week has left some 2.5 million people in need of aid and killed 96 others, authorities say, as officials rushed to get food and water to afflicted communities in the poor south.

Oaxaca state governor Alejandro Murat told local television on Monday that the death toll in his state had risen to 76. He said preliminary reports showed that at least 12,000 homes were damaged, and warned the number was likely to rise.

Mexico said it will no longer send aid it had offered to victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas due to demands on its emergency services, the foreign ministry said.

Murat said 1 million people in Oaxaca needed food, water, electricity and help rebuilding damaged homes, while in neighbouring Chiapas state, which was closest to the epicenter of the tremor, 1.5 million people were affected, according to officials.

"We are united in facing this humanitarian crisis," Murat said.

The 8.1-magnitude quake off the coast of Chiapas rattled Mexico City and sowed destruction across the narrowest portion of Mexico on the isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Sixteen people have been reported dead in Chiapas state and four in neighbouring Tabasco. Many of the fatalities in Oaxaca were in the town of Juchitan, where more than 5,00 homes were destroyed.

The quake, the most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in over eight decades, was stronger than a 1985 temblor that killed thousands in Mexico City. However, its greater depth and distance kept the capital from being more serious damaged.

President Enrique Pena Nieto on Friday declared three days of national mourning and pledged to rebuild shattered towns and villages.

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