Earthquake in Mexico updated 27 Jan 2003

Situation Report
Originally published
Mexico is struggling to recover from a massive earthquake that struck the country on January 21. The quake, which Mexican authorities placed at 7.6 on the Richter scale and the U.S. Geological Survey placed at 7.8, damaged or destroyed thousands of homes and other critical structures (schools, businesses, roads, etc.), and was strong enough to be felt in 13 states. A second quake, measuring 5.8 struck the following day dramatically escalating the damage sustained by the region.
The latest numbers show that at least 25 people have been killed and more than 500 were injured, but those numbers may rise over the coming days as authorities continue to search the rubble and the rural region around the hardest hit state of Colima. The earthquake was centered in Colima where President Vicente Fox has now declared a state of emergency.

Catholic Relief Services Responds

Shortly after the quake struck, Catholic Relief Services staff visited Colima along with our partners Caritas Mexicana and the Social Pastoral Episcopal Commission to assess the damage and determine the aid needed. As a result, CRS is providing an initial $20,000 toward the emergency response in Mexico.

"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, CRS' 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."


The January 21 earthquake is among the 10 worst to strike Mexico in the last 25 years. Many of those killed died during landslides following the earthquake. Power, telephone and gas outages were also reported in some of the hardest hit areas, and schools and businesses have been closed throughout Colima. Shelters have been opened in all of the affected areas, but many people, fearful of aftershocks or more quakes, have chosen to sleep outside on the street.

CRS has been supporting human development and humanitarian efforts in Mexico since the 1960s. The agency has supported health and rural development projects, provided emergency assistance after disasters such as the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, and are now expanding its activities to include both the southern and northern regions of the country.

Your support is needed.

Donations can also be made by calling: 1-800-736-3467
or by sending checks to:
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, Maryland 21203-7090.

Copyright=A92003 CRS