CWS Emergency Appeal: Western/Central Mexico Earthquake

Appeal Number: 6738
Appeal Amount: $27,300
Situation Report

Recovery efforts continue in the Mexican states of Colima and Jalisco following a Jan. 21 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, some of them serious.

Some two dozen people died in the disaster, while 550 others were injured; the quake measured 7.6 on the Richter scale. An assessment by Samuel Lobato, CWS representative in Mexico, reported that in Colima 2,135 houses were completely destroyed and in Jalisco, 224 were destroyed.

As a result of the earthquake, 36 percent of the population in Colima has suffered from trauma, according to reports; the traumatized population is concentrated in the areas most affected by the quake.

Colima is a state vulnerable to diverse natural phenomena, Lobato noted. It has suffered a Tsunami; several earthquakes and is affected by cyclones. The Colima Volcano -- the second most active in Mexico - is only 20 kilometers from the state capital city. However, preparedness and mitigation activities are few and the population at large expresses little knowledge of the risks it faces and has not been trained to act when natural disasters strike.

Emergency Appeal

CWS is supporting the work of three partner organizations that are coordinating their work in nine communities in the Colima region, including the municipalities of Colima, Villa de Alvarez and Coquimatlán. The agencies are: the Center for Psychological Attention for the Community, Caritas Colima, and the Griselda Alvarez Women's Support Center.

Between them, these agencies are assisting 288 families -- some 1,440 persons -- in their needs for shelter, mental health and prevention efforts.

These families are among the most affected communities, inhabited by poor people, where up to 80 percent of homes were lost. "The population continues to be very affected psychologically, having lost their homes and possessions," said Labato said. "Their neighborhoods gave them social identity and they now lack stable employment."


Response includes:

Elementary shelter and domestic utensils packages, for 150 of the poorest families (some 750 persons) who lost their homes. Of those, 108 would be distributed in the Piscila community; a rural population of 265 families, where 23 suffered a total loss of their homes, 85 suffered serious damage and 68 minor losses. These locally-made packages consist of carton sheets and wooden skids to make temporary roofs, camp beds; and sets of tables, chairs, plates, pots and a portable stove. Each package costs $86.00. TOTAL: $12,900

Mental health and disaster prevention: A series of eight workshops will be held per community, each lasting a day, 80 in total, for 288 families (some 1,440 persons). Part of such workshops will be dedicated to treating mental health aspects, and the other to prevention, in order that at the end an inter-communitarian prevention process can be defined.

The workshops will work on 3 levels: one for children aged 7 to 12, the second for adolescents and the third for adults.

Themes to be included are:

1) The fears, horrors and panic of the earthquake

2) The impact of the earthquake and the fantasy of death

3) Collecting rubble and finding treasures

4) The map of dangers in the state and the community

5) The Civil Protection System

6) What can we do in our families?

7) What can we do as communities?

8) Evaluation and projection

The total cost of the workshops is $14,400 and is broken down as follows:

- Therapists $8000 ($100/ workshop)

- Social workers $4000 ($50/workshop)

- Stationery and materials $2400 ($30/workshop)

TOTAL: $14,400


CWS-ERP is seeking $27,300 from its denominational members for this appeal.

CHURCH WORLD SERVICE, Western Mexico Earthquake #6738, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN, 46515. Phone pledges or credit card donations: 1-800-297-1516. Call the CWS HOTLINE for updates: (800) 297-1516.

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding, contact CWS Emergency Response. Telephone: (212) 870-3151


CWS HOTLINE for more information: 1-800-297-1516