Mexico: Earthquakes - Sep 2017
According to the [BBC], an 8.1-magnitude earthquake on the Richter Scale struck off the Pacific Coast of Mexico--around 87km (54 miles) south-west of Pijijiapan--at 23:50 local time on Thursday, 7 September 2017 (04:50 [GMT] Friday). A tsunami warning was issued for Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Honduras; however, it was later lifted. An estimated 50 million Mexicans felt the tremor per the Mexican government. (IFRC, 8 Sep 2017)
Search and rescue operations continue and the death toll, according to national authorities, has now reached 90, of which 71 are in the state of Oaxaca, 15 in the state of Chiapas and 4 in the state of Tabasco. According to media, as of 11 September at 6.30 UTC, thousands of houses have been damaged and over 2 million people have been affected in the country. (ECHO, 11 Sep 2017)
Shelter destruction and damage to health and education infrastructure is most notable. However, there are also risks of food shortages in Oaxaca in Mexico as stores remain closed and prices are increasing. (ACAPS, 11 Sep 2017)
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck central and southern Mexico [on 19 September], killing more than 200 people, according to the government. Buildings in Mexico City and Puebla, near the quake’s epicentre, have collapsed, and there are reports of severe damage to infrastructure, including collapsed bridges. The Mexican Red Cross has deployed dozens of doctors and nurses, alongside more than 90 ambulances and its urban rescue unit. (IFRC, 20 Sep 2017)
UNICEF´s response plan on child protection has begun implementation in Oaxaca and Puebla. Chiapas and Morelos will start next week with the installation of child-friendly spaces. In spite of Government efforts and investment plans to help families recover from the earthquakes, in terms of social protection, there are no clearly targeted compensation plans for affected families. Financial subsidies will be given only to those who are classified to be under ‘patrimonial’ poverty, wherein they could receive up to USD$600 per household. UNICEF foresees the increase in the number of poor families, especially those which have lost their properties and other assets. Research, communication and advocacy efforts will be increased to propose targeted cash transfers in emergencies for families with children under 5 and for female-headed households (UNICEF, 29 Sep 2017)
The Ministry of Finance has confirmed the activation of the $150M Catastrophic Bonus by the World Bank, which will be transferred to the National Disaster Fund (FONDEN), for health, education and roads infrastructure/reconstruction purposes. The fund is approved following verifications conducted by the US Geological Survey. (UNICEF, 13 Oct 2017)
Reports from the Office of the President show an updated number of 184,000 households, 175 health facilities and 16,000 schools damaged by the 7 and 19 September earthquakes. Reconstruction has started in 4,000 schools, which means that 75% of severely damaged schools are yet to start demolition and rebuilding. More than 73,000 families in Chiapas and Oaxaca have received support for house reconstruction. (UNICEF, 10 Nov 2017)
In November, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams in Mexico City, Mexico State, Puebla, Oaxaca and Morelos concluded the medical, mental health and heath promotions activities that were launched in response to the emergency situations created by two major earthquakes in September.
MSF provided 1,544 medical care consultations and 1,450 mental health consultations, while our health promotion activities reached 6,000 people. The organisation distributed nearly 150 tarpaulins for shelter and 200 kits containing basic tools for cooking, hygiene, cover and, in some cases, specific products for babies and toddlers. MSF also donated about 20 tents in some of the most affected communities. (MSF, 8 Dec 2017)
Three months after the earthquakes, most children living in the most affected municipalities in the five states have gradually returned to school and to their normal lives. UNICEF has developed an Early Recovery Plan to be implemented between January and June 2018. This plan includes actions on Education, Child Protection, Social Inclusion, Health and Nutrition, and WASH. Also, after several demands from the respective local governments, UNICEF ́s action in the early recovery phase will expand to the State of Mexico and Guerrero, also affected by the earthquakes. (UNICEF, 19 Dec 2017)
The Mexican Red Cross has sent more than 4,507 tons of humanitarian aid for the September earthquakes to the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Puebla, Morelos, Guerrero, CDMX, Estado de México and Tlaxcala, which has benefited more than one million 126 a thousand people. This humanitarian aid has been distributed among 661 communities that were affected. (Mexican Red Cross, 21 Dec 2017)
Hurricanes Irma and Maria: health sector response
In the space of one month, several nations of the Caribbean were ravaged by two category 5 hurricanes packing winds of up to 160 mph (260 km/h). Hurricane Irma passed through 11 islands in the Caribbean starting on 5 September 2017, followed a week later by Hurricane Maria, which impacted six islands, including three in Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, that had already been hit by Irma. The total population of the islands is 37.2 million people.