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.
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.