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Picking up pieces in Guerrero

Luis Alberto Cruz Hernandez / AP

Members of a family sleep outside their home in fear that aftershocks from Tuesday's magnitude 7.4 earthquake could cause their home to collapse in Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, near the Guerrero border on March 21.

Henry Romero / Reuters

A boy carries books inside his earthquake damaged classroom at Francisco Larrayo's School in the village of Paso Cuaulote, Guerrero on March 21. The 7.4 magnitude quake hit Guerrero hardest where more than 800 houses were damaged.

Henry Romero / Reuters

Medical personnel attend to a patients that were evacuated from a hospital damaged by the earthquake in Ometepec, Guerrero on March 21.

A powerful and prolonged earthquake rocked Mexico on Tuesday, toppling houses near the epicenter in the south, cracking building facades in Mexico City and briefly terrifying a population well schooled in natural disasters.

The brunt of the shaking apparently was taken by the southern states of Guerrero and Oaxaca, near whose shared border the epicenter of the quake was pinpointed 12 miles below the surface. 

--Msnbc.com wire services contributed to this post

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