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Quake Victims Assisted by Central American ’Migrant Brigade’ as Government Aid Lingers

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September 12, 2017

Members of the Migrant Brigade help move rubble in a destroyed community (Hermanos en el Camino)

Update: Helicopter Carrying Aid to Quake zones in Mexico Goes Down (Associated Press)

As nearly three million people in Mexico struggle with the aftermath of last week's devastating 8.1 magnitude earthquake, impatience is growing in poverty-stricken communities. Instead of waiting for federal assistance that may never arrive, residents in the country's southern Oaxaca state are organizing to assist each other in a spirit of solidarity and mutual assistance.

Among these groups is a brigade of nearly 50 migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, who are offering their unconditional support to communities in Mexico's poverty-blighted Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca. The brigade's tireless efforts have earned them the status of heroes in a country where they are usually faced with discrimination, distrust and abuse.

Their orange shirts and red helmets covered in dust, the group of migrants have spent the past several days moving toppled street lamps and electrical poles, digging makeshift graves, providing medical aid to survivors and helping to clean up the piles of rubble and shattered glass in the cities hit hardest by the quake – Juchitan and Asuncion Ixtaltepec, Oaxaca.

You be the judge: Clean uniforms and dirty migrants. Who is doing the work? (Hermano Velazquez)

The migrants live in nearby Ixtepec at the Hermanos en el Camino Hostel. The shelter was founded 11 years ago by Catholic priest and human rights defender Padre Alejandro Solalinde, who saw the need to protect refugees from police and criminals.

When the massive quake struck, the shelter's residents immediately joined forces with the Humanitarian Peace Brigade Marabunta to begin addressing the most pressing problems faced by locals.

Read the rest at teleSUR

Related: As Mexico Earthquake Aid Mounts, Many Fear It Will Be Diverted (The New York Times)

Related: UN Ready to Provide Assistance to Mexico After Devastating Quake (Trend)

Related: Poor Materials, Lack of Planning Caused Houses to Crumble in Mexico Quake (EFE)

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