SALT LAKE CITY — Following a Thursday night earthquake that was Mexico's most powerful in decades, the LDS Church has acknowledged all of its missionaries are safe and accounted for, including those of the two missions in the hardest-hit area.
"Last night's earthquake in Mexico affected thousands of people, and we pray for their safety and well-being," said Eric Hawkins, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a Friday morning statement provided both in English and Spanish.
"Two missions of the church were directly impacted (the Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez and Mexico Oaxaca Missions) and the quake was felt throughout a much larger region.
"We have confirmed that all missionaries are safe and well," he said. "The condition of other church facilities and the earthquake's impact to other members are unknown at this time. We will provide additional information as it becomes available."
The 8.1 magnitude quake hit off the Pacific Coast of southern Mexico near the southern state of Chiapas on Thursday around midnight, with initial death counts at 32 and reports of some survivors being trapped under rubble and debris.
Tremors were felt by a reported 50 million in the country, including in Mexico City some 600 miles away. Mexico's capital city was where a devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck in September 1985, resulting in 10,000 deaths and 30,000 people injured.
Thursday night's earthquake is said to have matched an 8.1 magnitude temblor recorded in 1932, centered 300 miles west of Mexico City. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said the overnight quake was the strongest in his country in 100 years.
The LDS Church has 1.41 million members and 2,016 congregations in Mexico, along with 34 missions and 13 temples. Two of the country's temples are in Oaxaca and Tuxla Gutierrez and are closest to the quake's epicenter — there was no report yet on any damage to those buildings Friday morning.
Post-quake tsunami warnings were issued for the Pacific Coast, from Mexico south to Panama, with the possibility of 13-foot waves, but initial reports had waves of only 3 feet.
"With the rest of the world, we are deeply concerned about the many natural disasters that have occurred around the globe in recent weeks," Hawkins said.