IMPACT – MEDIUM

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Mexico Wednesday afternoon, killing dozens of people, leveling buildings and temporarily suspending operations at Mexico City’s airport.

The quake struck shortly after 1 pm local time about 80 miles (128 kilometers) from Mexico City. Dozens were confirmed dead. News outlets reported that dozens of building collapsed in Mexico City alone.

Mexico City’s airport temporarily suspended operations. Flights into and out of Mexico City were cancelled or rerouted. The airport announced it would reopen at 4 p.m. local time, but travelers were nonetheless urged to contact their airline prior to traveling.

The U.S. State Department asked Americans in Mexico to monitor local media and “contact loved ones directly or use social media to let them know your status.” The Argentinian and Canadian embassies were among those to offer support and condolences. The British Embassy was closed because of structural damage and urged people to follow the advice of local authorities.

Wednesday marked the second time in less than two weeks that Mexico was hit by a major earthquake. A magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck off of Mexico’s southwest coast late on the night of Sept. 7.

BAL Analysis: Emergency crews continued to dig through rubble in Mexico Wednesday afternoon and it was difficult to what the impact on government services and travel will be in the coming days. Dozens of flights were rerouted, however, and while the airport announced it would reopen, travelers were nonetheless urged to check with their airline before departing. Companies may wish to take steps to account for the safety of any employees currently in Mexico.