A devastating earthquake struck in the State of Colima in southern Mexico destroyed more than 250 homes in the city of Colima and badly damaged thousands more. Falling walls immediately killed 25 people and more than 300 were admitted to hospital for treatment of quake-caused injuries.
On the morning following the earthquake, as reports of widespread damage began to emerge, a senior Salvation Army officer from the regional offices in Guadalajara (163 km to the north) departed immediately to conduct an initial needs assessment. After surveying the damage he requested help from a Salvation Army disaster response team.
A five-member response team from the Capital Division in Mexico City quickly activated the territory's disaster canteen and immediately headed for Colima. They were joined there by Major Larry Repass from The Salvation Army's Mexico Territorial Headquarters in Mexico City and Major Mike Olsen, an international disaster consultant, who travelled from the USA.
It was determined that the survivors urgently needed building materials to stabilise their damaged homes against further deterioration. The greatest single need was for roofing.
The Salvation Army team immediately began purchasing aluminium corrugated roofing and set up a distribution centre in a local Baptist Church in the City of Colima. Early plans are to purchase 7,000 sheets of this roofing material and 20 tons of bagged cement to assist in restoring homes and saving damaged residences from the seasonal rains and further deterioration. It is hoped these materials will enable the team, with local people, to repair approximately 1,000 roofs and restore damaged walls in 500 homes.
The program for assisting earthquake victims is completely managed and staffed by The Salvation Army in Mexico. The response is partially funded by a US$10,000 grant from the Salvation Army World Services Office (SAWSO) in the United States and a further $10,000 from the organisation's International Headquarters in London.
Major Mike Olsen
International Emergency Services Consultant