Missionaries reported safe following massive Mexico earthquake

No missionaries were harmed during a powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake that shook Mexico’s Pacific Coast on Tuesday, June 23.

All full-time missionaries “are safe and accounted for,” reported Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff. Officials continue to assess any damage suffered by members or Church-owned properties.

At least six people were killed and many more were seriously injured in Tuesday’s quake. The casualties were reported near the quake’s epicenter in the southwestern state of Oaxaca, according to Reuters.

A witness in the state’s Pacific coast resort town of La Crucecita, which Mexican authorities said was the epicenter of the earthquake, saw anxious residents standing outside their homes hours after the tremor as they feared deadly aftershocks.

People react after a 7.4 earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico, Tuesday, June 23, 2020. The earthquake centered near the resort of Huatulco in southern Mexico swayed buildings in Mexico City and sent thousands into the streets.
People react after a 7.4 earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico, Tuesday, June 23, 2020. The earthquake centered near the resort of Huatulco in southern Mexico swayed buildings in Mexico City and sent thousands into the streets. Credit: AP Photo/Luis Alberto Cruz Hernandez

Houses were scarred by wide cracks across walls and residents sought to clear debris from the streets. About 200 houses in the area were damaged, including 30 that were badly impacted, a local official said.

Rockfalls blocked winding mountain roads between the state capital of Oaxaca city and the coast. Rescue workers reported three people seriously injured in the remote hill village of Santa Catarina Xanaguia, one state official said.

Rescue workers battled for hours to reach the settlement, near the epicenter, where the quake brought down homes and parts of the mountainside, the official said.

Meanwhile, in Mexico City, buildings shook strongly and people ran into the streets when an early warning seismic alarm sounded, reported Reuters.

Two people were injured and more than 30 buildings in the capital suffered damage, officials said.

A policeman stands in front of a partially collapsed building after an earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico, Tuesday, June 23, 2020. The earthquake was centered near the resort of Huatulco, in the southern state of Oaxaca.
A policeman stands in front of a partially collapsed building after an earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico, Tuesday, June 23, 2020. The earthquake was centered near the resort of Huatulco, in the southern state of Oaxaca. Credit: AP Photo/Luis Alberto Cruz Hernandez

Tuesday’s quake hit almost three years after a pair of massive earthquakes claimed hundreds of lives, including those of several Latter-day Saints. 

The first struck southern Mexico on Sept. 7, 2017, killing more than 90 people, including three members. The second struck closer to the sprawling capital of Mexico City on Sept. 19, killing more than 300 people. 

The Church responded to those catastrophes with a large-scale relief effort, providing aid in the form of provisions, equipment and essential volunteer labor. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited quake-impacted regions a few months later, offering much-appreciated spiritual uplift to Mexicans of all backgrounds still recovering from the natural disasters.