Mexico City and the Puebla Earthquake
In the last year, I’ve made two visits to Mexico City so this earthquake has had a personal impact on me. After spending nearly two weeks there, I place the Mexican capital high on my list of favorite destinations. So great is my interest in CDMX that I have plans to visit again in just a few months time.
The earthquake, magnitude 7.1, that hit Puebla a few days ago has had a heartbreaking impact on Mexico City. It has been frustrating to watch US television coverage, which has been entirely focused on one school building. I have reached out to contacts in the area to get a better sense of the full scope of impact.
What people in the damaged areas are saying
Friends on the ground tell me that the damage is actually greatest in some of the trendier areas like Roma and Condesa, places I have come to know well. One friend explained that after the massive 8.0 earthquake of 1985, many people returned to buildings that were damaged but did not fall; many repairs were never carried out, making the impact of this earthquake more serious.
There has been an encouraging outpouring of aid and volunteerism in CDMX, with many taking time off work and school to help in any way they can. In many cases, the damage to buildings is superficial, but in some cases apartment buildings and other structures are being evacuated and some are even in the process of collapse.
In a twist of events, city officials are now beginning to encourage volunteers to return to their work as the sheer number of people and food-aid that has flooded the damaged areas is almost too great. With so many disasters occurring simultaneously throughout the southern part of the Northern Hemisphere, these types of stories bring hope in times of despair. Infrastructure is damaged but humanity remains intact.
What you can do to help Mexico City
At this time, I would feel like a hindrance to the recovery process if I visited as a tourist, but soon, Mexico City will need tourism revenue to help in the rebuild/retro-fit process. I still hope to make a visit in a few months.
If you’d like to know more about some of the areas affected and why they’re still places well-worth the visit, check out this article I wrote for Traveling Nine to Fiver. Both of the Airbnb’s I reference suffered no major damage, which is great because the hosts are really great people and the apartments are awesome!