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Susannah Rigg: ’I Am in Awe’ at Show of Solidarity in Mexican Citizens

Susannah Rigg - CNN
go to original
September 21, 2017

There were dramatic scenes of rescue and bitter disappointment in Mexico City as emergency crews and volunteers hunted for people trapped under rubble by Tuesday’s earthquake. The powerful quake killed at least 230 people and toppled dozens of buildings. (DW English)

Donate: Here’s How You Can Help Mexico Earthquake Victims (Fortune)

When the earthquake struck, I was working in a bookshop café in Roma Norte, a bustling neighborhood in Mexico City. As I tried to exit the building, books came flying past me. I have been in earthquakes in Mexico before - but this felt very different. It was stronger and more violent. The ground swayed for a long time after the heavy shaking stopped. Once outside, and trembling in fear, I noticed people running along the adjoining street. I presumed they, like me, were running away from danger. Later I discovered they were running toward it.

A building just around the corner from where I stood had collapsed and everyone was running to help. This help continued through the afternoon and into the night with residents grabbing shovels and picks and forming human chains to remove rubble and rescue people trapped underneath.

The display of solidarity is something that defines Mexico for me. As a British transplant, I am in awe of everyone's commitment to assist in the recovery efforts - even if it means potentially endangering their own lives. This commitment has reaffirmed why I have chosen this country as my home for the last seven years and why I was inspired to join the relief efforts the next day.

Listen: Heartbreaking Scenes as Mexico City Digs Out from Earthquake (NPR)


I had tried to assess the situation around me and reach those near and dear to me. I had no signal and couldn't reach anyone, but my friend Ricardo de los Rios came looking for me and found me close to my apartment. We consoled each other for a few minutes before he set off on his bike to join a rescue team at a collapsed apartment building.

He and other volunteers worked into the night clearing rubble and traversing the vast urban sprawl with medical supplies for those most in need. At around 11 p.m., roughly 9 hours after the earthquake devastated the city, he messaged me to tell me that they had found someone alive. "It is so harrowing seeing everyday items in the rubble," he told me later that night. "We saw plates that hadn't broken, children's school notebooks and a man's shirt."

As electricity in the city came back on at varying times through the night and people opened up their internet for public use, messages from victims trapped in different locations began appearing on social media. This morning, locals - myself included - headed to those locations.

Read the rest at CNN

Related: Earthquake Response Shows the True Strength of the Mexican People (PanAm Post)

Related: Inside the Inspiring Citizen Response to Mexico's Earthquake (VICE)

Related: Mexico Shrouds Its Sorrow in Solidarity: 'It Could Have Been My Child' (CNN)

  Check out Cruz Roja Mexicana (Mexican Red Cross)

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