The death toll from the powerful quake that struck central Mexico has jumped to 226 as authorities scramble to rescue survivors from flattened buildings. The government's civil protection agency has confirmed the latest death toll, with the majority of deaths coming from Mexico City.

The 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Mexico on Tuesday, 19 September, affecting multiple states. This was the most powerful tremor to hit the northern American country since 1985.

Early on Wednesday, 20 September, the Twitter account of the civil defence agency released the official death toll and said 117 people were killed in Mexico City alone. While 55 people died in Morelos state, located south of the capital, 39 people lost their lives in Puebla.

A school collapse led to the death of 20 children and left more than 30 others missing. The country's education secretary said as many as 200 schools across Mexico City suffered damages because of the tremor with nearly 15 of them being destroyed.

"We are facing an emergency in Mexico City, in the states of Puebla and Morelos following this 7.1-magnitude earthquake," President Enrique Peña Nieto said in a televised address. "We may still find people under the rubble. Stay in touch, follow lines of communication, we will keep people updated. There are medical centres available and public hospitals are opening up their services to everyone regardless of whether they are eligible for attention or not."

According to the US Geological Survey, the epicentre of the quake was in Puebla state, which is about 120km from Mexico City.

Communication services and power supply have been knocked off by the quake. Rescue personnel are struggling to deal with collapsed or badly damaged buildings in dozens of locations.

Terrifying images of the quake are being posted on social media that show the devastation caused by the quake. "As I got to the middle of the street and looked back you could see the tall buildings swaying back and forth and there was a lot of powder coming up from between the buildings. In fact, the whole street was like a big cloud of just dust," a witness, Jesus Chairez, told the BBC.

Mexico City earthquake
An injured woman is helped after a powerful quake in Mexico City on 19 September 2017PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images