The Steep Price of Disaster in Mexico

The Steep Price of Disaster in Mexico from Wolf Street

Rebuilding with no insurance and little government aid.

Wolf here: Don Quijones and his wife, who is from Mexico, spent part of the summer in Mexico but returned to Spain a few days before the earthquake. DQ’s in-laws live in Puebla, Mexico City, and Morelos — among the hardest hit places. They got through it unharmed and are more or less OK for now. But a lot of uncertainties remain. My thoughts are with them.

By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

Rescue efforts in Mexico are beginning to wind down after a trepidatory (vertical) earthquake unleashed destruction and bedlam in Mexico City and the two central states of Puebla and Morelos on Tuesday. The temblor took place 32 years to the day after a horrendous quake killed at least 10,000 people in Mexico City in 1985.

Thankfully, the number of victims this time is many magnitudes lower, due largely to improved building standards and enhanced public awareness in the wake of the ’85 quake. Nonetheless, the death toll is close to 300 with thousands more injured. And for survivors the financial toll is just beginning.

Just as happened in 1985, the response of civil society to the latest disaster has been astounding. As CNN’s Mexico correspondent Susannah Rigg reports,rather than rushing away from danger in the immediate aftermath of the quake, many people ran towards it, in order to help others who may be trapped in collapsed buildings.

All over the city, people began forming human chains to help remove debris while other volunteers, including the so-called “topos” (moles), a famous volunteer group that formed after the 85 quake, burrowed into the loose wreckage in search of survivors. So far these groups have helped rescue scores of people, including eleven school children, from the debris. Social media has also played its part by helping send people to where they are most needed.

It’s this kind of solidarity that is keeping Mexico going. In fact, in some areas there are so many people helping out that willing volunteers are being told that no more help is needed. Hospitals are providing free care to the quake’s victims, architects and structural engineers are assessing the structural health of buildings free of charge, and therapists are offering free counselling.

Everybody wants to do their bit.

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Wolf Richter

In his cynical, tongue-in-cheek manner, he muses on WOLF STREET about economic, business, and financial issues, Wall Street shenanigans, complex entanglements, and other things, debacles, and opportunities that catch his eye in the US, Europe, Japan, and occasionally China. WOLF STREET is the successor to his first platform… TP-Title-7-small-200px …whose ghastly name he finally abandoned in July 2014. Here’s the story on that. Wolf lives in San Francisco. He has over twenty years of C-level operations experience, including turnarounds and a VC-funded startup. He earned his BA and MBA in Texas and his MA in Oklahoma, worked in both states for years, including a decade as General Manager and COO of a large Ford dealership and its subsidiaries. But one day, he quit and went to France for seven weeks to open himself up to new possibilities, which degenerated into a life-altering three-year journey across 100 countries on all continents, much of it overland. And it almost swallowed him up.