Outpour of Support Comes After Mexico City Earthquake

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Diana Rodriguez Mendiolea

Photo by Luis Arango

The office of the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego released an update this week regarding the donation process for victims that were affected by the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico City on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

Tuesday’s earthquake, which occurred on the anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that left thousands dead, has left buildings in shambles and killed at least 245 people. It also followed a 8.1 magnitude quake that struck the Southern part of Mexico late Thursday last week.

According to the Consulate’s release, international donations are received through the Mexican Red Cross by accessing the website and creating an account.

Mexico’s Tax Administration Service, known as SAT, announced that donations to victims from abroad will not be charged taxes or customs agent and authorization will take one day. However, certain donation guidelines must still be followed, such as having a written list of items and contact information of the recipient responsible for the donations.

Those interested in providing humanitarian aid, medicine, or rescue teams can contact the Consul General of Mexico in San Diego, according to the release.

“We are now helping to channel the help that comes from outside our country and also to inform Mexicans who are here (San Diego) about their families,” said Marcela Celorio, Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego, in a phone interview with La Prensa San Diego.

On Thursday, Sept. 21, Mayor of Mexico City Miguel Angel Mancera Espinosa announced a need for disaster funding and updated the number of deaths in the city alone to 115 total. As a result of this announcement, Mexico City can receive financial aid intended for natural disaster relief from the federal government.

Search teams made up of emergency crews and volunteers have been working tirelessly since Tuesday, trying to find individuals under rubble of the collapsed buildings.

One of those buildings was the Enrique Rebsamen Elementary School in Mexico City, which collapsed and caused the death of more than 20 children. Emergency crews, family members and neighbors continue in the search for missing individuals in the debris.

Videos on social media showed how people ran out of buildings in panic while buildings swayed with the force of the earthquake. Some videos also showed how buildings completely collapsed as a result of the shaking.

Despite the feeling of hopelessness while watching their homes fall, Mexican citizens have showed that they are united by volunteering to find survivors.

Mexico has received aid from Japan, El Salvador, and Panama, and rescue teams from Ecuador, Honduras, and Spain are set to go and help.

Celorio said the Mexican Red Cross chapters from Mexicali, Tecate, Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada sent rescue teams. There is a coping center in Tijuana, so those who are binational or have the ability to cross over can go directly to the centers to donate items.

United States President Donald Trump tweeted, “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you,” the day of the earthquake.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Agency for International Development deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team to aid Mexico. Sixty members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department and 5 canines were sent to rescue survivors and assess damage.

According to Celorio, there has been an exchange between diplomats and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which coordinates the United States government’s role in responding to natural disaster among other disasters, will decide how and who will participate in aiding Mexico.

For the time being, researchers are requesting for donations other than food and water, such as tools to help remove the debris while searching for survivors and medicine.

Celorio said those interested in getting more information or contacting a family member in Mexico can call 855-463-6395 and the Consulate will try to help them. She also added that people need to be cautious of scams when donating.

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