Rescuers search for survivors a week after quake struck Mexico City

World Today

Rescuers look for any survivors a week after quake strikes Mexico City

It’s been one week since a powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake destroyed towns in central Mexico and ravaged parts of the capital.

More than 330 people were killed while dozens are still missing. 

CGTN’s Franc Contreras has been in Mexico City from the moment the quake hit and has the latest.

Rescue workers from Israel – both men and women – work alongside a Mexican team.

Their goal is to carefully and quickly remove the wreckage of a former office building and avoid harming anyone who might be trapped below.

On top of the building, exhausted rescue workers continue their mission of removing rubble by hand, in the hopes of finding at least one more survivor.

However, with the passage of time, the likelihood of finding survivors fades. The previous night, a Colombian team removed six bodies buried in the rubble.

The Mexican government’s top human rights official arrived on Tuesday, speaking with family members of those under the broken concrete, hoping to calm nerves.

“We’ve asked the Civil Protection Director, who is working here, to provide you information,” said Roberto Campa, Mexico Undersecretary for Human Rights. “And tell you about the agreements taken among various public and private organizations so that you understand how we are proceeding and can rest assured that we will inform you.”

Mexico’s Civil Protection Director tried to explain why the process is taking so long.  The nearly 170-hour wait for news has taken a toll.  

“Stop playing with our sentiments and using the government bureaucracy as your excuse,” said one unidentified woman.  “This can’t be! Wake up and give us our dead. It’s as though you are keeping them from us. Why are you waiting to hand them over?”

Posters on the nearby wall show the faces and names of some of the missing. They include:  Carolina Solorio; Jesus Alberto Vasquez; and Guadalupe Clara Aguilar who all worked in the office building the day it caved in.

Fatigued family members have been camped here since the earthquake hit. They are tired of telling their stories.

Claudia Lopez is waiting for news about her missing nephew, Gustavo. She said he’s a 26-year-old accountant who loves life, and had been working in the building just four months before it fell on top of him. 

“We are emotionally distraught,” said Lopez. “But we have to be strong. We have to be calm and not despair. Many people are running out of patience as they wait long hours. They feel the stress, the anxiety, the anguish. But we have to have lots of faith and believe that he is alright, and that he will get out of there alive.”

However, their faith and hope are running against a ticking clock.  And, there are no guarantees their stories will have a happy ending.