MEXICO'S EARTHQUAKE 1985

 

TRAGEDY IN MEXICO CITY
I interviewed my dad, so he could explain to me what happened back in Mexico City in 1985. He was very happy to tell me because he really wants me to know what can happen when an 8.1 earthquake strikes the biggest city in the world. Through this interview, my dad showed me how to give value to life in the most difficult times. He told me that this earthquake has been the most difficult problem to Mexico because 10,000 people were killed, 50,000 injured, and 250,000 people were left homeless.
   The epicenter was located 50 km (approximately 31 miles) off the coast of Mexico (18.2 N, 102.5 W). The epicenter is the point on the earth's surface directly above the point of focus of the earthquake. Mexico City itself lies on lake-sediments. These soft sedimentary clay deposits amplified the seismic waves or they subsided carrying buildings down with them. This is a region where the Cocos Plate is being subducted underneath Mexico, and this is the most active subduction thrust fault in the Western Hemisphere. In this century, Mexico had 42 earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 7.
 During this natural disaster, my dad was living 45 minutes away form Mexico City in a small town named Texcoco. In the morning of September 19, 1985, (3 days after the Independence of Mexico), he felt that the house was shaking in a horizontal movement. Immediately he told my mom and turned on the news to see what was happening. At that moment he knew that something was very wrong because there was not an image, and the house kept shaking very violently. He took my mom and me (I was only 4 moths old) and ran outside of the house. He told me that he heard people screaming like "they were in hell." After three horrifying minutes, which seemed like an eternity, everything stopped and came to normal.
 An hour later, about 8:00 a.m., he received a phone call from his cousin, telling him that she was giving birth, but the hospital that she was in did not have the equipment to take care of her. So she asked my dad to take her to the nearest hospital, but my dad knew that the "best equip" hospitals were Mexico City. He then, to my point of view, made the very best decision and took her to the hospital.
When they came to the border of Mexico City he saw a "cloud of dust." In a few minutes he saw policemen, firefighters and soldiers from the National Guard everywhere.
 
 He couldn't get any closer because everything was a mess. When he came close to a policeman, he told him that his cousin was giving birth and she needed help right away. He was very friendly and escorted my dad to the nearest hospital. The policeman couldn't call an ambulance because they were taking care of all the injured people already. When he went through the streets he saw the buildings of Employment, Defense, Education, Urban Development, and the Ministries of Communication were totally destroyed.
 
 (Top failure, Central Communications Center. The twelve-story reinforced concrete structure housed the Ministry of Communications and Transport and the nation's main microwave transmitter. Failure of this structured precipitated a near total collapse of long-distance communications between Mexico City and the rest of the world and complicated the coordination of international rescue efforts) when they got to the hospital his cousin received help. A few minutes after, she had her baby. While my dad was waiting, he saw that the hospital was getting full quickly with mutilated, burned and dead people. "I felt sorry for all of them". He told me that he became worried about us, but he knew that we were safe. When he came back to Texcoco he took his cousin to her house and went to find us. He told me that the first thing he did when he got home was that he gave my mom a big hug, and he kissed me.
   Through this interview my dad taught me many things that I didn't know. For example: he taught me that this earthquake caused over 5 billion dollars in damage, and that 25 square kilometers were destroyed just in the city. That's more than 9 square miles. Through this interview I didn't see a strict, rough person, but a caring, noble and soft one who opened his heart to tell a part of his life and a historical event for Mexico.

 PICTURES FROM:

 www.corbis.com

 www.boisestate.edu

 cse.ssl.berkeley.edu

 LINKS:

 CNN

 ITEC

 ARIZONA EDU

 COLORADO EDU