It began on September 7 off the Pacific coast of Chiapas with an 8.2-magnitude earthquake, the strongest ever recorded in Mexico. Both Chiapas and Oaxaca suffered extensive property damage and a loss of life. Homes, businesses, churches and highways are destroyed and/or damaged. Many residents of both states are now homeless and living outdoors with nothing but plastic tarps for shelter from the rain. Since then there have been continuing aftershocks and minor earthquakes, as well as heavy rain from tropical storms.
On September 9, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) requested donations for those affected by the earthquake in Chiapas and Oaxaca. The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish) is a member of the CNI and has already donated money to the CNI for all the indigenous peoples and communities affected by the earthquake.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose battered Veracruz and a tropical storm caused severe flooding in Guerrero. On September 19 a major earthquake devastated parts of Mexico City and its surrounding states. Many of us have seen the loss of life and collapse of buildings in Mexico City on TV, but there is also extensive property damage and loss of life in the states of Mexico, Morelos and Puebla. The town of Jojutla, Morelos, near the epicenter, is almost totally destroyed. Many indigenous communities and organizations belonging to the CNI are located in these states.
Faced with this catastrophic situation affecting its member organizations, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) again asked for donations to help the victims of ALL these disasters. It named the official organizations for receiving solidarity donations.
Now, according to the US Geological Service, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck close to Matias Romero, Oaxaca, on Saturday, September 23. Matias Romero is located on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Both Chiapas and Oaxaca have communities that are part of the Isthmus. This is the same area affected by the September 7 earthquake! A 6.1-magnitude earthquake can cause a lot of damage. Although reporting on this new earthquake is sparse so far, there is certain to be further damage to the farming communities and towns in that part of the Isthmus.
While reports of humanitarian aid not reaching those who need it are widespread, there are also reports of heroic citizen efforts to rescue earthquake victims and provide material aid. Social justice, community and international organizations are helping to provide food and shelter. And, as noted above, the Zapatistas made a monetary contribution.
The Chiapas Support Committee joins in these humanitarian efforts and renews and updates our original call for donations to a human rights center designated by the CNI, the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Center (Centro de Derechos Humanos Digna Ochoa) in Tonalá, Chiapas. We will send donations directly from our business account to the Human Rights Center’s business account via secure international wire transfer. Donations can be made via our PayPal donate button on our website. We are a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization so donations are tax deductible if you itemize, and we will acknowledge receipt of donations.
We thank you in advance for your solidarity.