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Desperate Rescuers Dig Through Rubble After Powerful Mexico Quake

The deadly earthquake toppled buildings in the heavily populated capital and forced thousands of people into the streets in panic.

36 PHOTOS

People who fled office buildings as they swayed, gather along Reforma Avenue after an earthquake in Mexico City on Tuesday.

Police, firefighters and ordinary Mexicans dug frantically through the rubble of collapsed schools, homes and apartment buildings, looking for survivors of Mexico's deadliest earthquake in decades as the number of confirmed fatalities stood at 217.

Tuesday's magnitude-7.1 quake struck on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that killed thousands. Just hours earlier, people around Mexico had held earthquake drills to mark the date.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This gallery contains graphic images that some viewers may find disturbing.

Rebecca Blackwell / AP
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A woman is comforted as an earthquake rattles Mexico City on Sept. 19, moments after an earthquake drill was held in the capital.

Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP - Getty Images
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Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Yuri Cortez / AFP - Getty Images
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People stand on the streets in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Sashenka Gutierrez / EPA
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Dust rises over downtown Mexico City during the earthquake on Sept. 19.

Francisco Caballero Gout via AP
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A man walks out of the doorframe of a building that collapsed in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Marco Ugarte / AP
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Rescuers remove rubble and debris as they search for survivors in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP - Getty Images
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An injured woman is treated after a powerful earthquake in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Pedro Pardo / AFP - Getty Images
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Vehicles are covered in debris from the earthquake in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Alejandro Cruz / EPA
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Volunteers help clear rubble from a collapsed building in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Rebecca Blackwell / AP
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A man is pulled out of the rubble of a building in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP - Getty Images
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A man comforts a frightened student as he picks her up from school in Mexico City's Roma neighborhood on Sept. 19.

Rebecca Blackwell / AP
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Volunteers work together to remove debris from a flattened building in search of survivors in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Alfredo Estrella / AFP - Getty Images
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A man is rescued from a collapsed building in Mexico City's Condesa neighborhood on Sept. 19.

Pablo Ramos / AP
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Rescue workers search for survivors of a collapsed building in the Del Valle neighborhood of Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Miguel Tovar / AP
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A woman is carried away after being pulled out of the rubble in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Alfredo Estrella / AFP - Getty Images
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Patients lie on hospital beds after being evacuated following the earthquake in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Rebecca Blackwell / AP
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A patient lies on a hospital bed after being evacuated in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Rebecca Blackwell / AP
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Residents watch as rescuers search through rubble for survivors in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Pedro Pardo / AFP - Getty Images
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Rescuers search for survivors after a building was flattened during the earthquake in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Pedro Pardo / AFP - Getty Images
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A woman was crushed by a collapsed building in Mexico City's Roma Norte neighborhood on Sept. 19.

Marco Ugarte / AP
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A woman walks past a collapsed building in Jojutla, Morelos state, on Sept. 19.

Eduardo Verdugo / AP
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An injured person is removed from the rubble of a building that collapsed in the Colonia Obrera neighborhood of Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Miguel Tovar / AP
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Families fearing aftershocks prepare to sleep on the street in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Rebecca Blackwell / AP
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Rescue workers remove a dead body after searching through the night for students at Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City on Sept. 20.

Carlos Jasso / Reuters
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Victims bodies are lined up in Atzala, Puebla on Sept. 19.

Jose Castanares / AFP - Getty Images
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Rescuers observe a damaged building in Mexico City on Sept. 19.

Yuri Cortez / AFP - Getty Images
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A rescuer pulls a dog out of the rubble during the search for survivors in Mexico City on Sept. 20.

Yuri Cortez / AFP - Getty Images
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A car sits crushed from a building in Jojutla, Morelos state, on Sept. 20.

Eduardo Verdugo / AP
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A flattened building in Mexico City on Sept. 20 as the search for survivors continues.

Mario Vazquez / AFP - Getty Images
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Workers rescue a religious statue from the heavily damaged former convent of San Juan Bautista, in Tlayacapan, Morelos state, Mexico on Sept. 20.

Eduardo Verdugo / AP
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Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers search for survivors in a flattened building in Mexico City on Sept. 20.

Yuri Cortez / AFP - Getty Images
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An aerial view of  rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers searching for survivors in a flattened building in Mexico City on Sept. 20.

Mario Vazquez / AFP - Getty Images
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Rescue workers and Mexican soldiers take part in a rescue operation at a collapsed building after in the Obrera neighborhood in Mexico City on Sept. 20.

Carlos Jasso / Reuters
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Parents await word while rescue services and volunteers search for their children under the debris of collapsed buildings in Mexico City on Sept. 21.

Sashenka Gutierrez / EPA
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People who lost their homes in the 7.1 magnitude earthquake rest inside a gymnasium turned into an evacuation center in Mexico City on Sept. 21.

Jorge Dan Lopez / EPA
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