(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Rescuers yesterday frantically worked to dig a young girl out from under the rubble of a partially collapsed school, a small glimmer of hope amid devastation from a major earthquake that killed at least 225 people across central Mexico.
Television network Televisa broadcast the dramatic rescue attempt live after crews at the school in southern Mexico City reported finding the girl, seeing her move her hand and threading a hose through debris to get her water.
The identity of the girl was not immediately known.
The effort to rescue her is part of a search for dozens of victims feared buried beneath the Enrique Rebsamen school, where local officials reported 21 children and four adults dead after Tuesday's quake.
The school is one of hundreds of buildings destroyed by the country's deadliest earthquake in a generation.
The magnitude 7.1 quake, which killed at least 94 people in the capital alone, struck 32 years to the day after a 1985 earthquake that killed thousands.
Mexico is also still reeling from a powerful tremor that killed nearly 100 people in the south of the country less than two weeks ago.
As rescue efforts continued at the school, a facility for children aged three to 14, emergency crews, volunteers and bystanders toiled elsewhere using dogs, cameras and heat-seeking equipment to detect survivors.
Reinforcements also began to arrive from countries including Panama, Israel and Chile, local media reported.
Hundreds of neighbours and emergency workers spent the night pulling rubble from the ruins of the school with their bare hands under the glare of floodlights.
Three survivors were found at around midnight as volunteer rescue teams known as 'moles crawled deep under the rubble.
By yesterday morning, the workers said a teacher and two students had sent text messages from within the rubble.
Parents clung to hope that their children were alive.
'They keep pulling kids out, but we know nothing of my daughter, said 32-year-old Adriana D'Fargo, her eyes red. She has been waiting for hours for news of her seven-year-old.
Overnight, volunteers with bullhorns shouted the names of rescued kids so that tense family members could be reunited with them.
The earthquake toppled dozens of buildings, tore gas mains and sparked fires across the city and other towns in central Mexico.
Falling rubble and billboards crushed cars.
Even wealthier parts of the capital, including the Condesa and Roma neighbourhoods, were badly damaged as older buildings buckled. Because bedrock is uneven in a city built on a drained lake bed, some districts weather quakes better than others.
Parts of colonial-era churches crumbled in the adjacent state of Puebla, where the US Geological Survey (USGS) put the quake's epicentre some 158km southwest of the capital.
Around the same time that the earth shook, Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano, visible from the capital on a clear day, had a small eruption.
On its slopes, a church in Atzitzihuacan collapsed during service, killing 15 people, Puebla Governor Jose Antonio Gali said.
In Rome, Pope Francis said he was praying for Mexico, a majority Catholic country.
'In this moment of pain, I want to express my closeness and prayers to all the beloved Mexican people, he said.
US President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday: 'We are with you and will be there for you.
Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto spoke at length yesterday, according to the White House.
Residents of Mexico City, home to some 20mn people, slept in the streets while authorities and volunteers distributed food and water at tented collection centres.
Other volunteers, soldiers and firefighters formed human chains and dug with hammers and picks to find dust-covered survivors and bodies in the remains of apartment buildings, schools and a factory.
With each layer of rubble that was removed, workers pleaded with onlookers and volunteers for silence, desperate to hear the sound of any survivors below.
Some volunteers in Mexico City expressed frustration at the disorganisation among military and civilian emergency services, which competed over who would lead the rescue efforts.
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