MEXICO CITY – Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes after the earthquake in Mexico on Tuesday has placed them under risks of collapse.
Amada Rodriguez and seven members of her family, including her 85-year-old mother, have been taken shelter in Benito Juarez, one of the worst-hit areas in the magnitude-7.1 quake that struck Mexico on Sep. 19.
Seated on a mat and covered with a blanket, Rodriguez said she had been well cared for, even though she was still quite shaken up.
Her family and some other 50 families were evacuated as a precautionary measure after the houses, though they did not collapse, suffered from severe cracks during the “very strong” earthquake, she explained.
Many residents went to stay with relatives, but Rodriguez chose to stay at the shelter, where her family can enjoy psychological support and entertainment, in the form of a magician who delighted the children, apart from accommodation and food.
The shelter’s representative said the place can house 800 people, although it housed only 200 on the first night after the earthquake.
While many were finding it tough away from homes and all their belongings, some of the younger people, thanks to institutional support and volunteers, were taking the experience as an adventure.
Draken Michel, who lives in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo and was visiting his aunt in Mexico City when the earthquake struck, said “The building suffered some damage; it has some cracks and we’re scared to enter it, so we decided to come here.”
Michel said he had received good care, which was a respite after the “very strong” quake that he said he would never forget.
The earthquake on Sep. 19 occurred on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 temblor that left thousands dead in the capital.
Miguel Angel Peñaluna, a shelter’s occupant, moved with his entire family to the shelter as a precaution.
Peñaluna has asked for a quick assessment of the condition of his house.
“Civil protection (...) is giving the order to evict all people from the buildings,” explained Peñaluna on Wednesday night, before adding that there were a few moments of despair among the occupants.
In the Mexican capital, emergency teams have rescued 53 people from the rubble as part of the urgent relief effort during the 24 hours after the disaster.