Catholic Relief Services responds to earthquake in Mexico

News and Press Release
Originally published
January 22, 2003, Baltimore - Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is on the ground to assess the damage and coordinate a response to the strongest earthquake to hit Mexico since 1985 - measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale. The earthquake has left 23 people dead and 140 hospitalized, according to the latest reports from Mexico. The quake was centered in the Pacific coastal state of Colima and was felt in 13 other states, principally Jalisco and Michoacan. The four towns hardest hit -- Colima, Coquimatlan, Comala and Tecoman - were left without power and natural gas in some areas, and clusters of poorly-supported adobe and brick houses were damaged or destroyed. CRS is working with Caritas Mexicana and the Episcopal Commission for Social Pastoral (CEPS) to respond to the most immediate needs.
"In cooperation with local authorities and other aid agencies, the first priority will be to provide immediate relief to victims in the form of temporary shelter, food, water, and medical aid," said Jed Hoffman, Catholic Relief Services' regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean. "Further assessments will then need to be made about the extent of the damage and losses of homes."

Mexican Civil Defense authorities have been working to clear access roads to the region, and the full extent of damage will not be known until small rural villages are reached in the coming hours and days.

Catholic Relief Services is marking its 60th year as the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic Community. The agency provides assistance to people in more than 87 countries and territories on the basis of need, not race, creed or nationality.

To contribute to Catholic Relief Services' efforts, send donations to:

Catholic Relief Services
Mexico Earthquake Fund
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, MD 21203-7090

For more information on CRS' work in Mexico and throughout the world, please visit our website


Matt Felice
(410) 951-7304
Jennifer Lindsey
(410) 951-7350