Mexico in a state of emergency after a second earthquake

“Today, more than ever, our beloved Mexico and all who belong to her are asking the whole world and each one of you for your prayers.” ACN Mexico has only just finished assessing the cost of the earlier earthquake, which has so far cost the lives of over 100 people and affected the lives of some 1,497,575 people.

Königstein/ Mexico City – Today, Tuesday 19 September at 13:14 hours local time, an earthquake of magnitude 7.1 struck the area and appears so far to have cost the lives of over 250 people, principally in Mexico City and in the cities of Morelos and Puebla. Serious damage has been caused, including the collapse of many buildings, among them schools, homes, churches and convents.

Among the most seriously affected places is Mexico City itself, with serious structural damage recorded at over 44 different sites within the capital. Many areas have been left without electricity, and the Mexico City airport has suspended all flights, while all the schools and universities remain closed in the affected areas.

The people have been united in their rescue efforts, since many people are still trapped beneath the rubble and calling for help. The countdown has begun for saving those who are still alive.

The government has issued warnings of possible after-shocks and has urged people not to return to damaged buildings and to avoid driving on the streets in order not to hamper the rescue efforts of the emergency services. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has activated the so-called “PlanMX” emergency response plan and convened the National Emergency Committee to evaluate the situation following the earthquake.

For its part the Mexican Bishops’ Conference has also issued a communiqué aimed at channelling and organising aid in response to the emergency. It is worth remembering that only a few days earlier, on 7 September, another major earthquake of 8.2 magnitude had also struck México, prompting a state of emergency above all in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Veracruz, which were at the same time also dealing with the passage of two hurricanes.

Julieta Appendini, the national director of ACN México (the Mexican national office of the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need/ACN), called for worldwide prayers for México. “We are alarmed at the magnitude of this new tragedy. The situation has been difficult. In the past two weeks we have had thousands of people hurt, and despite what happened yesterday, the insecurity in Mexico was once again in evidence, with armed robberies, assaults, looting from shops by people taking advantage of the situation. Today, more than ever, our beloved Mexico and all who belong to her are asking the whole world and each one of you for your prayers. May Our Lord and Our Lady of Guadalupe bless and protect us!”

ACN Mexico has barely finished assessing the damage of the earlier earthquake on 7 September, which cost the lives of over 100 people and left some 1,479,575 people homeless. “We know that the churches are providing refuge for those made homeless and that the priests have put into operation plans for helping the material and spiritual needs of the communities. People are still in shock and in mourning as a result of the tragedy and the loss of all their belongings. It has also been calculated that 122 churches have been closed on account of structural damage and the risk that they might collapse. Some of these churches were built in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries”, she explained.

ACN Mexico is working closely together with the Mexican Bishops’ Conference and other agencies to provide aid and information.

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Founded in 1947 as a Catholic aid organization for war refugees and recognized as a papal foundation since 2011, ACN is dedicated to the service of Christians around the world, through information, prayer and action, wherever they are persecuted or oppressed or suffering material need. ACN supports every year an average of 6000 projects in close to 150 countries, thanks to private donations, as the foundation receives no public funding.