Earthquake rescue, relief and rebuilding–It’s up to me!

In the days since two strong earthquakes shook Mexico, I’ve seen a lot of conflicting advice, suggestions, and commentary.  What I’ve come to realize that it comes down to personal responsibility and that the only person who can decide if you are personally responsible or not, is, well you.

Let’s talk about Jorge.  He wasn’t a trained first responder.  He wasn’t a building expert.  He was quite ordinary in fact. But what Jorge did was assess the situation, said to himself “It’s up to me.” and crawled through rubble to rescue 4 children trapped inside. (Jorge Houston: el desconocido que ayudó a rescatar niños del Rébsamen)

This was not an isolated occurrence. Thousands upon thousands of residents took up the call for aid just minutes after the earthquake. Instead of saying “Well, the military will get here soon and they can take charge.” they said “It’s up to me.” and formed human chains to remove rubble and search for more survivors. (Rescuers save 16 trapped inside factory, These Photos Of Mexicans Helping Each Other After The Quake Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity

Here in Mexico, there is a decided lack of confidence in the government and with good reason. As the days passed and the government was predictably slow to respond, the search for survivors has become victim body recovery and the main efforts have been refocused towards relief for those most affected.  

Another shining example of humanity at its best is Doña Rosita. Doña Rosita carried her donation on her back across town in her rebozo.  She could have said, “I’m old.  I don’t have anything to give.” but she said, “It’s up to me.”


But again, the government tried to impede these efforts.  Here in Moroleon, various “centros de acopio” (donation sites) sprung up.  Police officers arrived at several to demand the organizers shut down.  Some did, but others decided “It’s up to me.” and continued their collections and deliveries.

moroleon aid blocked

Even with donations pouring in, the government put up obstacles to relief, requiring IFE (voter registration cards) before survivors were given much-needed supplies.  It’s a shame that many of those most in need didn’t grab their ID before their house crumbled to the ground. (DIF MUNICIPAL DE JUCHITAN) In addition, several political parties have been accused of diverting supplies in order to claim credit, angering many citizens.

Shannon delivery

Let’s talk about Shannon. Shannon saw that most of the aid was headed to Mexico City although the metropolis was not the only severely damaged area. She could have said “Well, I have a business to run and my own family to take care of.  The Red Cross will eventually get to these other towns.”  but instead she said “It’s up to me.” and drove a truck full of supplies to Atzala, Puebla, Mexico distributing them without asking for any ID.  Shannon is accepting PayPal donations for her next truckload of supplies.


With the immediate needs of survivors now taken care of, it’s time to shift the focus again, this time towards rebuilding.  There has been no word from the Mexican government on this topic and I very much doubt there will be any effort to help those who have had homes damaged or destroyed. In fact, at least one government employee has been fired when he petitioned the government for earthquake aid. (Topo de Coahuila es despedido por trasladarse a brindar apoyo en la CDMX)

It would be easy to say “Well, I don’t know anything about building. I can’t help there.” But I said to myself “It’s up to me.”  So here I am to present one worthy recipient.


Let’s talk about Florence. Florence lives near the town of Tlalnepantla de Baz, just outside Mexico City, with her husband and two young children. Immediately after the earthquake, she invited anyone who had lost their home in the earthquake to stay with her.  With the second earthquake, Florence’s home became structurally unsound.  Two entire walls will need to be torn down and rebuilt. Internet unreliability these past few weeks caused Florence to lose her job teaching online and now she isn’t sure how she will be able to pay for these repairs.  If you would like to help Florence rebuild, contact me here.

.The devastation from these earthquakes and the hurricanes that hit Mexico earlier in the month may seem overwhelming and it is.  Perhaps you think that there isn’t anything you can do, that these official organizations will sort this out. Maybe they will.  I’ve listed below organizations at the actively involved in relief and rebuilding efforts.

Whether you decide to donate or not, well, that’s up to you.

Relief 4 Marginalized Zones in MX

Unicef Mexico

Global Giving Relief Fund

Fondo Unido Disaster Relief and Reconstruction Fund


Save the Children

Direct Relief

Project Paz

Impact Your World Assist Earthquake Victims in Mexico

Gael Garcia and Diego Luna’s Relief and Reconstruction Campaign


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