(CN) – A powerful, 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck the southwestern coast of Mexico late Thursday, killing at least 58 people, toppling homes and businesses, and rattling buildings as far away as Mexico City, 450 miles from the quake’s epicenter.
“We are assessing the damage, which will probably take hours, if not days,” said Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, in an address to the nation about two hours after the earthquake.
He added, “the population is safe over all. There should not be a major sense of panic.”
But even as he spoke, the National Seismological Service registered several strong aftershocks. As a result, schools in at least 10 Mexican states were ordered closed on Friday.
An estimated 50 million people across the country felt the earthquake. According to media reports from Mexico City, the quake sent scores of the city’s residents into the street shortly before midnight as walls rocked, power poles swayed, and windows shattered.
Still government officials predicted early Friday that the capital came through the quake in pretty good shape. The fear as sunrise approached was what would be found in the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. The damage there is expected to be severe.
In the immediate aftermath of the quake, Mexico’s government issued a tsunami warning off the coast of Oaxaca and Chiapas, but so far, neither has been impacted by significant waves.