Mennonite Central Committee is responding to two earthquakes that ravaged Mexico, including a 7.1-magnitude earthquake that hit southern Mexico near Atencingo, in the state of Puebla, Sept. 19, 2017, as well as an earlier 8.2 quake that hit Pijijiapan, Chiapas, Mexico Sept. 7.
The Sept. 19 quake caused significant damage in Mexico City, where hundreds of buildings collapsed, including some schools, trapping people in the rubble. More than 225 people were killed in the capital, and the death toll continues to rise.
“There’s a lot of anxiety around here,” says MCC representative for Mexico Liliana Alvarez-Woo. “We’re still in shock. The people are all very nervous and frightened by the physical damages, especially because another earthquake happened earlier this month.”
The Sept. 19 earthquake came less than two weeks after the 8.2 quake, which was the strongest to hit Mexico since 1985. The earthquake was felt throughout south and central Mexico, as well as in Guatemala and El Salvador. The quake killed at least 90 people in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Tabasco. In Guatemala, reports of damage vary across the country, with the northwestern highlands of San Marcos, Quetzaltenango and Huehuetenango experiencing the most damage.
MCC is planning a response to the earlier earthquake with its partners, including the Diocese of San Marcos in Guatemala. The local partner reports damage to housing and water systems as a result of the earthquake.
MCC is also assessing needs following the most recent quake.
Alvarez-Woo says she finds hope in many stories of people coming together in a difficult situation.
“There are many supportive people working in solidarity with one another,” she says. “Houses and public places have been adapted to attend to people affected.”
To support MCC’s relief work in Mexico and Guatemala, visit www.mcc.org/learn/what/relief/disasters
Rachel Bergen, with MCC Communications, wrote this article.