Powerful earthquake rocks Mexico City

At least 149 people are dead after a strong earthquake rocked the capital of Mexico, rattling buildings on Tuesday (local time).

The highest death toll was in Morelos state, just south of Mexico City, where at least 54 deaths were reported. In Mexico City, at least 36 people were killed.

The earthquake took place just after 1pm, causing prolonged tremors in the country's capital city and in other parts of the country.

At least 27 buildings have collapsed as a result of the shake-up, and 3.8 million have been left without power.

The magnitude-7.1 quake hit on the anniversary of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which caused massive damage and killed at least 5000 people.

The Mexican Seismological Service said the earthquake was centred on Axochiapan in the central state of Morelos, some 160km from the capital. Over 20 million people live in the greater Mexico City area.

Puebla governor Tony Galil tweeted that several buildings in the city of Cholula had been damaged.

Education Minister Aurelio Nuño tweeted "all public and private schools in Mexico City are cancelled until further notice."

President Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted, "I have called a meeting for the National Emergency Committee to evaluate the situation and to coordinate any actions. Plan MX has been activated."

Mr Nieto said he was "on (a) flight to Oaxaca. I immediately will return to Mexico City to address the situation caused by the earthquake."

Video shows the damage, with buildings partially collapsed and smoke and dust rises into the air from the destruction.

There have been reports of widespread fires in buildings across the city, and several people are said to be trapped by the quake.

Rescue teams are preparing to travel into the city to aid residents.

Witnesses said people were evacuated from some buildings, while others took shelter under their desks.

Newshub.