Over 200 people have died in the 7.1 magnitude quake

The Mexican bishops’ conference have offered their prayers for those affected by the earthquake that hit Mexico City and the state of Puebla on Tuesday.

“We unite ourselves with the pain for the victims of the earthquake that happened today, September 19, 2017, in various places in our country,” they said in a statement.

“Thousands of hands have formed chains of life to rescue, feed and do their bit in these emergencies.”

The number of fatalities has climbed to over 200, with one of the most desperate rescue efforts at a school in southern Mexico City where a wing of the three-storey building collapsed onto children.

The quake came on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that killed thousands, and came just hours after Mexicans held earthquake drills to mark the date.

The bishops pledged to work with authorities and charities to offer their assistance.

“We ask for the consolation of our Mother Mary of Guadalupe, so that through her intercession she may help and strengthen us in the reconstruction of our homeland.”