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Mexico mourns earthquake dead in devastated southern city

Mexico's government is distributing food to survivors of an earthquake that destroyed a large part of the city of Juchitan and left at least 90 people dead in the region. Nearly 800 aftershocks have been recorded.

Officials in Oaxaca and Chiapas states said thousands of houses and hundreds of schools had been damaged or destroyed by the earthquake with water supplies disrupted to thousands of homes.

Out of the 90 known victims of Thursday night's 8.1 magnitude quake, 37 were killed as buildings collapsed in Juchitan.

The picturesque city was the hardest-hit in the nation, with 5,000 homes destroyed and many more left without running water or electricity. In all, 71 of the deaths were in the state of Oaxaca, where Juchitan is located. 

Funerals were accompanied by the sound of snare drums, horns and saxophones playing serenades for the dead as pallbearers carefully maneuvered caskets around the rubble in Juchitan's graveyard.

A band performs during a funeral ceremony held for a person died in the earthquake in Juchitan, Mexico (picture-alliance/abaca/M. Velasquez )

Saxophones, trumpets and snare drums accompanied the funeral processions

The distraught relatives of 3-year-old Maximo Zuniga cried as dirt was shoveled over his small coffin. The toddler was asleep when the quake's tremors brought down his bedroom walls on top of him, his mother and older brother. Maximo died shortly after he was pulled out of the rubble.

Watch video 01:13

Drone footage of earthquake damage in Oaxaca

Maximo's 48-year-old grandmother Alma Alverez told Reuters news agency that she was displeased at Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's response to the disaster. The president made a brief appearance in the city on Friday, declaring three days of national mourning and pledging to rebuild.

"Pena Nieto was able to make it here in his helicopter super fast. That's how help should be arriving, right? Exactly how he got here. But it hasn't," Alvarez said, reflecting a belief that southern Mexico has been neglected by the richer north.

Rescues ongoing

Rescuers continued to comb through the rubble with sniffer dogs and heavy machinery to search for survivors.

Men carry the coffin of 38-year-old earthquake victim German Torres his funeral in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico (picture-alliance/AP Photo/F. Marquez)

Relatives and friends lined the streets of Juchitan to pay their respects to those killed in Thursday's earthquake

Several residents dragged mattresses onto sidewalks to sleep outdoors, with some concerned that their badly damaged homes could collapse at any moment.

The earthquake was felt around 800 kilometers (500 miles) away in Mexico City and as far south as Honduras.

Just one day after the quake struck, Hurricane Katia made landfall north of Tecoluta in Veracruz state as a Category One storm.

rs/sms    (AP, Reuters)

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