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No Filipino casualties in Mexico quake; embassy damaged

Volunteers search a building that collapsed after an earthquake, in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. A magnitude 7.1 earthquake has rocked central Mexico, killing at least 55 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust and thousands fled into the streets in panic. AP/Eduardo Verdugo

MANILA, Philippines — The building housing the Philippine Embassy was among the number of structures badly damaged after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck central Mexico on Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

The Philippine Embassy occupies the first two floors of an eight-story office building in the Cuauhtémoc neighborhood near the city center, according to Ambassador Eduardo de Vega.

De Vega said that he and the embassy staff rushed out of the building when debris started falling down the walls and ceiling.

At least 119 people have been killed as dozens of buildings collapsed in populated parts of Mexico City and nearby states.

READ: 7.1 magnitude quake kills 119 as buildings crumble in Mexico

Despite the damage that the embassy sustained, there were no reports of any casualties from the 60-member Filipino community in Mexico City.

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"We are all a bit shaken but otherwise all of us from the embassy are all right," De Vega said in a text message to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

The Philippines' top diplomat has offered sympathy and prayers to Mexico after the earthquake.

"We offer our sympathies to the Mexican Government and to those who lost their loved ones in this tragedy," Cayetano said in a statement.

Last September 7, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck the Oaxaca province in Mexico and killed at least 54 people.

The number of fatalities is expected to increase from the deadliest quake in Mexico since a 1985 quake on the same date that killed thousands.

The United States Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City. — Patricia Lourdes Viray with Associated Press

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