Toronto woman starts GoFundMe to aid Mexico earthquake victims International, News

Members of the Mexican Red Cross stand in between ambulances as rescue workers (not pictured) search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico, September 21, 2017. (REUTERS/Henry Romero)

By: Julie Arounlasy

Mexico is in desperate need of aid after four deadly earthquakes hit the nation this month.

That’s why a Toronto woman is raising money to help with the relief efforts in her home town in Mexico.

Mariana Hernandez started a GoFundMe last week, a couple hours after the 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Central Mexico. Hernandez said she is focusing on raising at least $2,000 to help the outlying communities of Mexico that are not getting enough support.

“I was just in shock. My family [is] there. I have friends there who were impacted by this,” she said. “With me being here, I can’t collect water, but I can collect money to buy the needs.”

The quake hit around lunchtime on September 19, killing more than 330 people. The earthquake damaged 11,000 homes and led to an outpouring of civilian volunteers to aid and comfort the victims.

An 8.1-magnitude earthquake had already hit September 8 off the southern Pacific coast.

Since Hernandez started her fundraiser, two more quakes shook southern Mexico on Saturday. A 6.1-magnitude quake was centred in the state of Oaxaca Saturday morning. Later that evening, another 4.5-magnitude quake hit the same state.

Relief supplies and volunteers are piling up at rescue sites in upscale areas of Mexico City following the disasters. Meanwhile, the Mexican government is struggling to get aid to those with little to no resources.

This struggle led relatives to protest this week at a collapsed office building in the Roma district of Mexico City. Protestors were angry with the slow progress recovering their loved ones and an alleged lack of information.

The Canadian Red Cross said they helped the Canadian government send 1,500 tents in response to the Mexico quakes. They have also been in close contact with the Mexican Red Cross during this time.

“There is a lot of wealthy people and international buildings in Mexico City so they got a lot of attention,” Hernandez said. “But what happens to people in Oaxaca? What happens to people in Puebla? The outskirts of Mexico are getting maybe one gallon of water per family.”

She said Canadians can travel more to Mexico to help support the nation’s tourism in hopes of helping fund and rebuild streets, highways and buildings.

“The situation is desperate with many people trapped under rubble, including children who were at school when the earthquake struck,” said Pascale Meige, Director of Disaster and Crisis Response at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), in a press release. “The Mexican Red Cross has extraordinary capacity as it responds to two major earthquakes less than two weeks apart and tropical storms Lidia and Katia, which hit in early September. Hundreds of Red Cross paramedics are out there right now trying to save lives in what is always a race against time,” she said.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the transparent global charity network Rotary, where medical supplies will be brought to affected people.

Hernandez said she will withdraw the money earned and personally see that it gets sent to the rotaries in her home region of Toluca which is a 20-minute drive outside Mexico City.

To find out more and to donate please visit https://www.gofundme.com/Helpmexiconow.

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