The most powerful earthquake in 30 years hit Mexico mid-day on Sept. 19. According to the US Geological Survey, the epicenter of the 7.1-magnitude earthquake was 2.8 miles northeast of San Juan Raboso and 34.1 miles southwest of the city of Puebla, in Puebla state.
The heart of Mexico City was hit when the devastating earthquake sent Enrique Rebsamen Elementary School crumbling down. Authorities confirmed 25 dead—19 children and six adults—at the school and said 11 other children were taken to hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries. The private Mexican school is proof of the horror and heartbreaks caused by devastating earthquakes like Tuesday’s, which left at least 273 people dead and more than 2,000 injured in the capital and five states. The highest fatality rate, 137, was in Mexico City.
People from all over Mexico joined forces to uncover buried citizens in the rubble. Thousands of first responders, soldiers and civilians worked tirelessly throughout the day and night displacing debris, helping those rescued and fulfilling the mission to search for more by hearing voices from under the rubble.
The quake left one of the busiest cities in the world in chaos. Windows shattered and fell several stories, crashing down over people fleeing buildings and causing potential gas leaks. Power poles toppled, blocking streets in the city and the public transportation system had to temporarily shut down operations. Nearly 5 million customers were without power until early Wednesday.
Unfortunately, Tuesday’s earthquake took place on the anniversary of a past earthquake measuring in 8.0-magnitude that killed 9,500 people in and around Mexico City in 1985. Mere hours before the quake hit, many citizens took part in drills and commemorative events.
According to Dorothy Munoz, interviewed by CNN, she was in her home watching a TV special on the 1985 earthquake when the earth started to tremble right under her feet. Munoz fled the building with her dogs, where fellow residents were informed not to return to their apartments until buildings were checked for structural damage and gas leaks.
The 7.1-magnitude earthquake came no later than one week after a 8.1-magnitude earthquake hit off the southern coast of the country, killing 90, according to the governor of the affected state of Oaxaca.
“We are facing a new national emergency,” Peña Nieto told citizens. The Mexican president declared three days of national mourning to honor victims. President Nieto also worked closely with President Trump by accepting his condolences and search-and-rescue assistance.
President Trump took a sympathetic tone in his tweet to Mexico, saying “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.”
What can Hope students do to help Mexico? Start a donation bin with your housemates, sports teams or residence hall. Once a target amount is raised, you can easily visit a trusted website like www.unicefusa.com. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first by providing clean water and sanitation, nutrition and emergency aid. According to UNICEF, five million children across central Mexico are at risk from the earthquake.