High school transforms into emergency shelter after central Mexico quake

World Today

International help continues to arrive to central Mexico areas devastated by last Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake, with the death toll reaching more than 300. In Mexico City, thousands of people left homeless are spending their days and nights at dozens of emergency shelters.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras reports.

The private high school, Centro Universitario Mexico, has been transformed into a help center for Mexico City earthquake victims.

A steady flow of food, water and medical supplies goes past the principal’s office, the chemistry and biology laboratories and the school’s basketball gymnasium. The entrance serves has a medical booth, staffed by volunteer doctors, nurses and psychologists.

The volunteers load trucks with bottled water. They’re sending enough for a large crew of thirsty rescue workers, who have been digging all day at a fallen building nearby, searching for survivors.

Psychologists at the emergency shelter attend to the needs of frightened people, who are suffering from mental distress. Dozens of families are getting all sorts of help, even including a clown brigade to make the kids and their families laugh.

Javier Cacho, the shelter’s director, graduated from the high school. As a student, he volunteered during the 1985 earthquake, which devastated Mexico City. Cacho became a security expert, and took on the roll of directing the school’s entire relief effort.

 “It’s impressive that the help starting pouring out from minute zero. The people came out immediately to help amid the chaos around them. To help without holding back,” Cacho said.

Five days after the 7.1 earthquake brought so many human tragedies, children at the shelter are managing to play once again. While it’s not home, mothers have a place  where they can feel safe again, and focus on the needs of their families.