Concerns Grow for Children Buried Beneath Collapsed School Buildings in Wake of Deadly Mexico Earthquake
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (September 20, 2017) — Save the Children holds grave concerns for up to 100 school children believed to have been inside a school building in downtown Mexico City when it collapsed after a powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck on Tuesday afternoon.
It’s one of two schools reported to have collapsed in the quake, which killed more than 200 people and cracked roads, causing dozens of buildings to collapse. Early indications are that thousands of families have lost their homes and are currently in shelters.
Save the Children Mexico’s Programs Coordinator Hanna Monsivais said she has been out on the streets with hundreds of other people offering support and assistance to their neighbors.
“People have shown enormous solidarity. Volunteers are bringing water, food, clothes, and face masks, so that they can help the official authorities move all the debris and rocks, because there are still people trapped under buildings,” she said.
“Every once in a while authorities ask for silence so they can hear the people who are still trapped. It’s amazing what people are doing for others – but some people are clearly still in complete shock.”
Monsivais said entire blocks have been cordoned off and many buildings are too dangerous to enter due to damage. Power is still not back on in many areas and communications are limited.
“This night is going to be tough. For sure, tomorrow the death toll will rise.”
Director of Operations at Save the Children in Mexico, Jorge Vidal, said the earthquake shook the office building he was working in at the time.
“Books fell off the shelves, windows shattered and we immediately lost power. All of our staff are safe and accounted for but our thoughts and hearts go out to the thousands of families likely impacted by this horrible disaster,” he said.
“Children are often the most vulnerable in emergencies such as this and we are particularly concerned because schools across the region were in session and filled with students,” he added.
The Government of Mexico is responding to the emergency and Save the Children teams are still assessing the needs of those affected.
Save the Children has been operating in Mexico since 1973.
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