SEATTLE — On September 19, 2017, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, Mexico’s deadliest since 1985, toppled dozens of buildings and killed 225 people in the country’s central territory. This followed an earthquake on February 16, 2017, that damaged dozens of homes and killed 13 people. However, many entities have stepped in to help earthquake victims in Mexico.
IDF, ZAKA Mexico and IsraAID’s Help
Following the September earthquake, Israel sent a team of 50 members from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Search and Rescue Unit. IDF’s team arrived in Mexico with a planeload of equipment and was assisted by ZAKA Mexico, a group of volunteers, to offer search, rescue and recovery assistance. Voni Glick, the co-CEO of IsraAID, said team members would provide mental health support to Mexico’s vulnerable earthquake victims, particularly those who fled to shelters.
How Facebook Worked to Help Earthquake Victims in Mexico
On September 20, 2017, Facebook announced plans to give $1 million to the Red Cross in Mexico to help the country rebuild its earthquake-decimated areas. Facebook also worked with UNICEF to waive fees on donations made via UNICEF’s Facebook page. “Since the earthquake, we’ve seen thousands of Community Help postings (currently over 10,000) with people offering and asking for volunteer work, transportation, shelter and food,” said Facebook spokesperson Jenna Stokes.
Stokes also cited instances where calls for help on Facebook were promptly answered. One man on Facebook asked volunteers to help with rescue efforts at a Mexico City parish. “In less than an hour a local man came by to help,” Stokes said.
Eva Longoria’s Global Gift Gala Fundraiser
On November 1, 2017, Mexican-American actress Eva Longoria asked the singer Maluma to co-host the Global Gift Gala, a fundraiser for Mexico’s recent earthquake victims. Longoria’s event was held at the St. Regis Hotel and included songs from the Mexican duo Jesse and Joy. “I feel grateful that she thought of me to be part of such an important gala and I feel so happy to be able to help Mexico, a country that really needs it now,” Maluma told the magazine People Chica.
The Red Cross’ Efforts to Rescue Earthquake Victims
Following the earthquake in September, emergency medical technician Gabriela, accompanied by Red Cross teammates, drove to the collapsed Enrique Rébsamen School in Mexico City and searched for survivors. “That day was desperation. The city collapsed,” Gabriela recalled. Parents of an injured kindergartener watched as Gabriela helped save their son’s life.
One way to help earthquake victims in Mexico is to remain calm despite unfolding chaos, shown by Mexico’s emergency responders. Local community members continuously helped each other by opening their homes, digging through rubble and offering kind gestures. Red Cross staff and volunteers were no exception to this, arriving to save lives even though their own homes and families suffered losses.
Mexico Becoming Better Prepared for Earthquakes
On February 27, 2018, Mexico City mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera said that the city is better prepared to handle future tremors and improve emergency responses. The city is also creating insurances and implementing stricter construction policies, showing how to help earthquake victims in Mexico properly prepare for future disasters. Mancera also said that demolishing and rebuilding properties were slow processes, adding that Mexico City still needed to improve its civil protection.
Though earthquakes are prevalent in Mexico, many entities will continue to help the country’s affected residents. These emergency responses can also show other groups how to help earthquake victims in Mexico. Efforts will continue to be made to help Mexico better prepare for earthquakes as well.
– Rhondjé Singh Tanwar