Mexico: Population recovering from earthquake

The people of the Mexican states of Colima and Jalisco are slowly resuming their normal activities following an earthquake that struck their region early evening on Tuesday, January 21, 2003.
Samuel Lobato, Church World Service (CWS) regional representative for Colombia and Mexico, writes, "the shockand trauma is still evident".

The immediate response to the earthquake, which measured 7.6 on the Richter scale, by local authorities, included attending to the 550 people who were injured during the quake, and re-establishing basic services such as drinking water, power and telephone lines.

Lobato, who traveled to the Colima areas declared as disaster-zones, Villa de Alvarez, Tecomán, Coquimatlán, Armería, Cuyutlán, Paraíso, Ixlahuacán and Colima City, reports that 21 people were killed in the state of Colima and that 44,116 people were affected. The earthquake left 8,540 people homeless. Jalisco (and area not visited by Lobato) recorded 2 deaths, 10, 000 people affected and 896 people left homeless. In Colima 2,135 houses were completely destroyed and in Jalisco, 224. Certain municipalities of the state of Michoacán state could still be declared a disaster area due to the damage caused by the earthquake.

In his conclusions and recommendations, Lobato writes that the immediate response form the local authorities were positive and well targeted, but considering Colima state's vulnerability to natural disasters, "preparedness and mitigation activities are few and that the population expressed little knowledge of the risks it faces".

[Information provided by ACT member Church World Service]