AMERICA/MEXICO - More than 200 dead after powerful earthquake hits Mexico, one word and a gesture among Christians: solidarity

Thursday, 21 September 2017 earthquake   area crisis   solidarity

Puebla (Agenzia Fides) - Civil society organizations, solidarity groups, Catholic communities are contributing to promptly reporting the areas most affected by the violent earthquake that hit the country on 19 September and at the same time have mobilized to bring solidarity and the necessary assistance to victims and displaced persons. Until last night there were 43 dead in Puebla alone, 163 churches have suffered structural damage and 1,700 houses have been destroyed. These are figures released by the authorities of this area after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Mexico, in particular Puebla.
At least 217 people have been killed, and the toll is still provisional.
The Mexican Church has mobilized to bring comfort to the victims and give them the necessary assistance. The Bishop of Puebla, Mgr. Felipe Pozos Lorenzini, yesterday celebrated a Mass for the 12 victims of the town of Atzala before their burial. In this community, the name of Arizbeth Escamilla will be remembered because he was only two months old and was the first to die buried under the rubble of the church roof of Santiago Apostol of Aztala, a 17th century church, about 170 km southeast of Mexico City, where he was supposed to be baptized. The local parish priest is
among the survivors of the tragedy that marked this community. Yesterday, during the general audience, the Pontiff addressed his thought to the Latin American Country shocked by the earthquake: "In this moment of pain I manifest my closeness to all the Mexican population", he said, inviting the present to raise a prayer to God "to welcome to his breast all those who have lost their lives, and comfort the wounded, their families and all victims".
The earthquake occurred after two weeks when the country was hit by its most powerful earthquake 8.2 magnitude, which left at least 98 people dead. The epicenter, this time, was recorded 12 km southeast of Axochiapan, in the state of Morelos, about 160 kilometers from the capital. It was the second major earthquake to hit Mexico in two weeks and came on the anniversary of the 1985 quake that devastated Mexico City: from 3,200 as the official figure to some 10,000 according to other sources.
The Secretary of the Mexican Episcopal Conference (MEC), Mgr. Alfonso G. Miranda Guardiola, sent to Fides a statement by the Bishops of Mexico calling on "the people of God to join in solidarity with their brothers and sisters who are suffering from the various natural disasters that have hit our country. "Many religious institutions had recognized the effectiveness of the Caritas Mexican and Episcopal Conference's network of aid and solidarity, which worked at full speed to support the brothers who were affected by the earthquake of September 7, particularly in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas. This network is revealing to be precious even in this new disaster. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 21/09/2017)