A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Central Mexico on Sept. 19. As of Wednesday morning, the death toll had risen to more than 200 people. Almost immediately faith organizations locally and across the world jumped into action and mobilized in prayer.
World Vision teams have been in the middle of the rubble working to assess the damage, aid in rescue efforts, and build quick relief projects to ensure the safety of people affected, according to Brian Duss, the media relations coordinator for World Vision. Silvia Novoa, the national director of World Vision Mexico, saw firsthand the damage of this earthquake.
“Volunteers have been providing food and water and coffee all night,” Novoa said in a message to Duss. “We’ve been organizing volunteers carrying stones out of the area — hand by hand they are passing the stones because rescuers cannot use big machines in fear of hurting the people still buried.”
And, as Duss pointed out, the greatest impact of a natural disaster could be after the event itself.
“For people who survive an earthquake they have new challenges: finding shelter, finding food, and finding a source of clean water,” he said.
Other international aid organizations have pledged to help.
Brigada de Rescate Topos, a local disaster relief non-profit organization founded in 1985 after a major earthquake, has been on ground assisting those affected and providing updates through their social media pages.
Se necesita atención médica y expertos en estructuras. Asiste al más cercano. Los demás voluntarios abstenerse por seguridad de todos. pic.twitter.com/PxHHduiZyX— Topos México (@topos) September 19, 2017
In a video message, Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima says the group has a team on ground assessing the needs of communities affected by the earthquake.
And faith leaders offered prayers for the people in Mexico.
In a statement, Jim Wallis of Sojourners said:
We pray for all those impacted by the devastating earthquake in Mexico. And we pray for those working tirelessly on rescue and recovery efforts. May God grant them strength and courage in the days and weeks ahead.
In Rome, Pope Francis told pilgrims to the Vatican that his prayers were with Mexico. "In this moment of pain, I want to express my closeness and prayers to all the beloved Mexican people," he said.
Mexico is still recovering from a magnitude 8.2 earthquake that hit Juchitán De Zaragoza, Mexico and other cities in the southern coast (plus Guatemala) on Sept. 8.