Post-quake rescue operations in Mexico enter their fourth day

World Today

Rescue operations enter a fourth day in Mexico after this week’s 7.1 magnitude quake. The death toll has risen to at least 293, including some residents of Taiwan.

Several of their bodies have now been recovered.

As rescue workers hold on to hope of finding more survivors under piles of rubble, CGTN’s Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City.

Citizens recorded a video showing the frightening moment when the Enrique Rebsamen primary and secondary school collapsed on top of school children.

A volunteer, who worked at the school, shouts to other volunteer rescue workers, telling them “Do not move the broken wall or it will fall on the children.”

Frightened for their own lives, the volunteers continued to pull several children from the broken building.

Human moments like this are only now coming out for the world to see.

They are possible in large part because the extraordinary efforts by citizens, like architect Juan Jose Martinez, who risked his own lives to save others.

Martinez worries that buildings that suffered structural damage can easily come crashing down if aftershocks of magnitudes 4 or 5 hit. He tells us his story, minutes after the earthquake.

“I was there,” he says, “leaning against the stairs I saw lots of dust all around. And on top of that we saw something.”

“First, I thought it was floor tiles. But it soon I realized it was a large part of concrete that had collapsed. At that point, I was very nervous. But it was a point of no return. I had to try find survivors.”

In crumbled buildings, volunteer rescue workers need basic tools to do their jobs: shovels, picks, hard hats. And they are getting that in large part from ordinary citizens, who are donating those items.

At a nearby makeshift aid center, many of tools are being stockpiled for immediate use by volunteers.

Citizens are also donating medical supplies and other necessary items, like food and toilet paper.

25-year-old Andres Alonzo traveled from the Pacific coast state of Michoacan to offer help.

“On the day I arrived I was quickly sent along with other volunteers to a nearby elementary school that was damaged,” he says. “We were helping there several hours. And then we came back here to organize this aid effort.”

Federal police, soldiers and government rescue teams are counting on help from their untrained countrymen, who bring them basic necessities—like drinking water—as the crisis from this natural disaster continues to unfold.