19 children killed, no more missing at Mexican school destroyed by earthquake
Children's welfare after natural disasters
After two days of confusion at the site of the collapsed primary, officials said all the students were now accounted for.
Nineteen children are now known to have died when a primary school was destroyed by an earthquake in Mexico.
Two days ago, the country’s president said 22 children were dead and another 30 were missing in the rubble.
Then world headlines focused on the story of a girl who was trapped alive in the ruins of Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City.
But there was confusion on the ground – and it has been confirmed that the girl did not exist but may have been an adult trying to dig their way out.
Angel Enrique Sarmiento, undersecretary for the Navy – which is leading search and rescue efforts – said the final death toll at the school was 19 children and six adults. He said 11 children were rescued from the building.
“We have carried out a full count with the directors of the school and we are sure that all the children are either safe at home, in the hospital or unfortunately died,” said Angel Sarmiento, a top officer in the Mexican marines.
Relatives and neighbours laid white wreaths near the flattened school yesterday in memory of the dead, hugging each other in tears.
“Sad, painful. In these moments, you can’t put into words what you’re feeling after the loss of a loved one,” said Miguel Angel Ortiz, whose niece was killed.
Almost 300 people are known to have been killed in the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck three days ago – the second to hit Mexico in two weeks.
President Enrique Pena Nieto promised today that authorities were not giving up the search for survivors.
Experts say the average survival time in such disasters is 72 hours, depending on injuries. But trapped survivors have been known to hang on for many days more, including after a massive earthquake that devastated Mexico City in 1985, killing more than 10,000 people.