Yesterday, Tuesday September 19th, the central region of Mexico was struck by a powerful earthquake. As I painfully type this post, the death toll stands at 241 – twenty one children are among them – they were crushed when their primary school collapsed.
It seems perverse that yesterday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake came on the anniversary of the devastating 1985 quake that caused so many deaths in Mexico City. To compound the irony – the shaking started just after a citywide earthquake drill. No “plan” can possibly cope with such sudden destruction, but I wonder – I hope – the simulation exercise saved at least a few lives.
Since the last BIG one – 32 years have passed – and our world has changed. Mexico has suffered from countless natural and man-made disasters. Hurricanes, earthquakes, environmental catastrophes, a breakdown of traditional values, corruption, narcos, devaluations, one political mess after another, inflation, slander by the international media, bullying by neighboring countries – I did not think one more thing could possibly befall the country – and now this.
It seems like TOO MUCH.
And yet, the minute the shaking stopped yesterday, men and women ran through choking dust and began clawing at the rubble – moving anything they could lift. As others began hauling the rubble away – buckets, shovels, work gloves and masks materialized. TV footage showed bare-backed young men balancing on the top of twisted metal and broken concrete – swinging sledge hammers to loosen the girders and beams. The crowd raised their arms and passed the twisted steel over their heads to those who loaded it into the dump trucks that soon were on the scene. All through the night, the makeshift rescue workers have continued working. They know that each passing minute reduces the chances of finding survivors.
They remember the horrors of 1985 and they remember the acts of heroism, like those of Los Topos—The Moles—a group of young people who spontaneously grouped together and risked their lives by crawling into collapsed buildings to look for survivors. The Moles had no equipment, training, or knowledge of rescue tactics, but they were instrumental in saving countless people, including newborn babies from Hospital Juárez—the most heart-wrenching, heart-warming story to come after the earthquake.
That quake brought the citizens of México City solidly together and caravans arrived with relief supplies from Canada, the U.S., Central America, and from every state in México.
What will it be like this time? Will the world help?
The students at our college here in Merida are collecting baby supplies for needy families. You can help by bringing diapers, wet-wipes, talc, formula, new or used clothing, blankets, bottles, or whatever you think would be useful. On Friday morning (Sept 22) they will deliver the collected goods to the Red Cross , who will in turn distribute them. TTT’s address is:
Calle 57 No. 492, Between 56 & 58, Centro Histórico, Merida.
If you’d rather, the link provided below will direct you to a number of verified agencies who will make good use of anything you can give:
Mexico does not have the resources to get through this on its’ own. PLEASE do all you can.
*Photo credits: found on Google Images / http://www.ocregister.com / AP Photo/Marco Ugarte