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United Way Blog

Digging Out: A Look Back at Mexico’s 2017 Earthquakes

It was little more than a year ago that two earthquakes shook Mexico. One had a magnitude of 8.2 and the second one of 7.1, leaving homes, schools and entire blocks completely inhabitable or with extensive damage.

For many, it brought back memories of the massive earthquake back in 1985, when Mexico came together to dig out the rubble of 400 fallen buildings in Mexico City.  Last year's earthquakes brought out the best in our people once again. People of all ages, and from all walks of life, came out to assist, to organize collection centers, shelters and help with other efforts to meet people's needs. 

After the first earthquake, Fondo Unido (United Way México)’s Emergency Relief and Reconstruction Fund was activated. It was designed to help affected communities in three areas: humanitarian relief, resilience and economic reactivation, and reconstruction with a social focus.

People came together around this recovery effort, raising almost $500,000 pesos on a crowdfunding campaign supported by individuals, and more than $56 million pesos in donations from 50 companies and eight international organizations. Over the last year, United Way México has been working to put those donations where they're needed most. So far, they've assigned almost 99 percent of the available resources to 67 initiatives -- making a difference for 119,776 people in 80 communities.

Since the first rumblings of the earthquakes, United Way México coordinated a network of allies to mobilize in-kind donations of 1+ million critical items, like food, medical supplies and hygiene products.

Club Santos Laguna, the current soccer champion in Mexico and partner of United Way, promoted a crowdfunding campaign and involved different players in giving messages on social media for supporting the cause.

Many other companies started internal fundraising campaigns, got international grants and found ways to donate through  the United Way Worldwide Mexico Earthquake Recovery Fund. Some even organized volunteers to help in reconstruction, making kits and working directly with communities to train them on prevention and resilience.

It's been quite a year -- one that has left us with many lessons learned. Thanks to the will and solidarity of thousands of people around the world, more than 100,000 thousand lives have been changed in the most affected areas of Mexico.

 We want to give a big thank you to the global United Way network  that supported us:

  • United Way Worldwide
  • United Way Miami-Dade
  • Community Chest of Korea
  • United Ways of Texas
  • United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut
  • United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham Co., Inc.
  • Fondo Unido Chihuahua

Looking back, the digging out reinforced for Mexicans the power of bringing people together to join the fight. When we work together, we can do amazing things. Learn more in this report.

Inspired by what you read? Change starts with you. Take action today to make a difference in your community.

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