Support beams are placed on a crumbling wall of a room during the search for students at the Enrique Rebsamen school after an earthquake in Mexico City
Support beams are placed on a crumbling wall during the search for students at the Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City on Sept. 21, 2017.Daniel Becerril—Reuters
Support beams are placed on a crumbling wall of a room during the search for students at the Enrique Rebsamen school after an earthquake in Mexico City
Aftermath of magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Mexico City
Rescue workers search through the rubble for students at Enrique Rebsamen school after an earthquake in Mexico City
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A military helicopter flies over a collapsed building as rescue personnel look for people among the rubble after an earthquake hit Mexico City
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Support beams are placed on a crumbling wall during the search for students at the Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico Cit
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Daniel Becerril—Reuters
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See What the Earthquake Destruction in Mexico City Looks Like

Sep 20, 2017

Hours before a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City on Tuesday, residents took part in a drill to commemorate the violent earthquake that hit the capital in 1985.

But soon, they were experiencing exactly what happened 32 years prior. Buildings shook, dozens collapsed, and dust clouds formed in the sky. The injured were rushed to the hospital, but many are missing, trapped under the collapsed buildings. More than 200 people have lost their lives. Rescuers have been searching through the rubble of buildings, homes, and schools since yesterday, while more than 3,400 soldiers were deployed to affected areas, according to the Mexican Secretariat of National Defense. Thousands of volunteers, including college students, went out into the Mexico City streets to join the rescue crews and help clear the destruction.

Helpers provided food and water for families and handed out blankets. By nightfall, power shortages and blackouts led to more difficult rescue tasks. Soldiers and marines aided in the areas of the blacked-out streets. Public transportation shut down its operations after the quake blocked countless streets, and nearly 5 million people were still without power early Wednesday.

Tuesday's earthquake came more than a week after an 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the southern coast of the country, killing more than 90 people. The back-to-back earthquakes seem to be a result of the rupture of fault lines on North America's tectonic plate, according to Behzad Fatahi, associate professor of geotechnical and earthquake engineering at the University of Technology in Sydney.

The final death toll may not be known for weeks, but is expected to rise.

See the devastation in the photos above.

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