MEXICO CITY – Long lines of people volunteering to help to move necessary supplies such as water or blankets onto distribution vehicles overwhelmed an improvised relief center in Mexico City on Wednesday, a self-management exercise that reveals the enormous solidarity among the citizens, awakened by the earthquake.
“I’m proud and I had a lump in my throat because the response from the people is very good,” Jocelyn, a veterinarian who volunteers for the first time, told EFE.
The magnitude-7.1 earthquake on Sept. 19 left at least 230 people dead in Mexico. One hundred of them, a sad round figure, are already registered in the capital, where there are about 40 collapsed buildings and many others with very serious damage.
Citizens arrived at the center with boxes of food, bottled water, medicines, saline solution, blankets, toilet paper, and without respite the volunteers sort them in specific spaces for counting.
As vehicles arrived, especially small private trucks, volunteers of all ages formed a human chain to help transport the supplies onto other trucks for distribution all day long.
Jocelyn, a Sociology student, told EFE that she has not stopped for 10 hours: “We could hardly drink water.” Sitting on the floor, she insisted her desire to help overcomes the fatigue, and so did hundreds of others who gathered at this location in the capital.
The improvised center is one of many established after the powerful earthquake and serves mainly to collect and disperse basic products.
One of the tragedies caused by the quake was that of Enrique Rebsamen School, in the south of the capital, whose building collapsed and at least 37 people, including children, were killed. Several other students are still buried under debris, and up to four have given signs of life.
As Mexico bitterly commemorates the devastating earthquake in 1985 on Sept. 19, which happened to occur on the very same day 32 years earlier, people are fervently struggling to save their compatriots.
“It’s about support, as I would like to be supported when there’s a problem this big,” 18-year-old Omar Lopez, who came to volunteer at the center along with three others to help categorize a thousand bags of saline solution and hydration packs, told EFE.
The work and the help are not limited to collapsed buildings. Solidarity is emerging beyond the tons of rubble.