Olga Matamoros recalls running out of her swaying apartment building, certain that the six-story structure would collapse before she reached safety.
“When I got outside I saw a disaster: Dust everywhere, the building in ruins, and I unable to move,” said Matamoros, 65, sobbing at the recollection. “A neighbor helped me because I couldn’t react. It was the worst experience of my life.”
That was one year ago, on Sept. 19, 2017, when a magnitude 7.1 quake struck, killing 228 people in the capital and 141 more elsewhere in Mexico. The earthquake hit 32 years to the day after the even more destructive 1985 quake that killed thousands.
Among the dead last year were nine who perished in the collapse of Matamoros’ former home, Building 1C of the so-called multi-family Tlalpan development in the southern fringes of Mexico City. The complex consisted of 10 buildings with 500 apartments, and while only one building collapsed, engineers have yet to declare the other structures safe.
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