Dozens of Mexico City residents quickly formed a human chain in a bid to clear the rubble of collapsed buildings and rescue trapped people underneath.

Rescue workers and citizens are fighting to pull survivors from the wreckage of a strong earthquake that struck central Mexico, killing more than 200 people and toppling dozens of buildings in the capital, Mexico City.

The 7.1 magnitude quake that hit on Tuesday 19 September also caused major damage in neighbouring states.

The video shows scores of residents working diligently to clear the remains of collapsed buildings in the La Colonia del Valle district in the north of Mexico City.

The devastation caused by the tremor hides that fact that this is one of the more affluent areas in the mega city, containing a number of parks, tree-lined streets and prestigious shopping malls.

The earthquake struck shortly after many people had taken part in an earthquake drill, exactly 32 years after a tremor killed more than 5,000 in Mexico City.

The epicentre of the latest quake was near Atencingo in Puebla state, about 120km (75 miles) from Mexico City, with a depth of 51km, the US Geological Survey said.

At least 226 people have been killed in Tuesday's quake, including 117 in the capital, authorities confirmed.

The death toll includes at least 20 children and two adults after their primary school Colegio Enrique Rebsamen collapsed in Mexico City.

The country's President Enrique Pena Nieto who visited the scene said: "The priority at this moment is to keep rescuing people who are still trapped and to give medical attention to the injured people."

During the quake, panicked workers fled from office buildings and clouds of dust rose up from the crumbling facades of damaged buildings after the quake struck.

As many as 44 buildings collapsed in Mexico City, according to Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera.

Officials asked people not to smoke in the streets of Mexico City - which has a population of 20 million - warning of possible ruptured gas pipes.

Mexico City International Airport suspended operations, while electricity and phone lines were down in parts of the capital.

Mexico is prone to earthquakes and earlier this month an 8.1 magnitude tremor in the south left at least 90 dead.

Mexico human chain
Mexicans form a human chain to help pass rubble along in the effort to find earthquake survivors under collapsed buildings YouTube/Alfredo Lecona