Fri 18 Oct 2019 05:12:16 CEST
Text Size


Mexico: With Mexican Communities Still in Shock Post-Earthquake, Medical Aid Channels Opening in Oaxaca

Source: Direct Relief
Country: Mexico

JUCHITAN, OAXACA – Driving into Juchitán de Zaragoza, one of the first things in view is a Volkswagen service station that has collapsed on itself. Shattered glass litters the parking lot, the behemoth structure an unsettling welcome to the area most affected by the historic 8.1 magnitude earthquake that hit off the coast of Mexico late Sept. 7. The death toll from the quake has climbed to 90, and 71 of those deaths occurred here in Juchitán and the surrounding areas.

Eduardo Mendoza, Direct Relief’s general manager of Mexico programs, arrived in the area on Saturday—a 50-pound suitcase full of medication, gauze, surgical gloves and other needed supplies in tow. But this suitcase is just a small token—Mendoza’s goal is to address medical needs on a grand scale. Working in cooperation with the state and federal governments, Mendoza and the Direct Relief team will be partnering with companies to bring large-scale shipments of medication and medical supplies to all of the hospitals in the region that are addressing the immediate and long-term needs of quake victims.

But doing that is easier said than done.

Arriving on Saturday night, Juchitán through Mendoza’s car window was dark and rainy. It is immediately evident that the town has experienced something catastrophic—piles of rubble begin to appear where houses or hotels once stood, menacing cracks scar the side of a new-looking supermarket, a bus stop lies in pieces at the corner. Mendoza knows what he needs to accomplish for the people of Juchitán, but where do you start when you land in a place flipped upside-down by a natural disaster?

The first stop is the hospital, which isn’t actually a hospital at all, but an indoor gymnasium. To even get to the door, you need to drive through a truck lot and past a small herd of sheep. The only clue that there might be a medical facility somewhere nearby is that ambulances are constantly passing in and out of the truck lot. Doctors relay to Mendoza that they are in need of surgical supplies, sterile dressing gowns, catheters, sutures, and medication for people with chronic illnesses like diabetes or high blood pressure.

There is an operating room at this facility, but they don’t have the supplies needed to perform surgery safely. Patients lie on gurneys as doctors flutter around the gym, moving from patient to government official to first responder and then back to their patient again. Florinda Castro Guzman lies in a daze on her hospital bed, her watchful mother-in-law beside her. “She has gallbladder stones,” says a passing doctor. “We don’t have any surgical supplies, so we just have to wait [to operate]. Lucky for her, she is stable and can wait. Not everyone is so lucky.”

A few beds down, there is a commotion as doctors, nurses and EMTs surround the bed of Rosalino Valdivieso Flores. His nephew, who stands vigilantly at his tio’s bedside, says that Flores’ pelvis was shattered in the earthquake and that his wife and daughter lost their lives. Flores is sedated but still grimacing in pain as the EMTs work to get him ready to be transported to a different hospital. On his arm is a simple tattoo, a name in a heart. His wife’s name, Irma.

With evidence from doctors that a serious need for medication and medical supplies exists here, Mendoza begins tracking down Mexican government officials who can help facilitate in organizing lists of needs from local medical centers as well as facilitate permits for large-scale medical shipments from the U.S.

As Mendoza texts and calls contacts, he also goes to meet a member of the community who is working to help those who aren’t yet receiving any sort of official aid. Cony Rueda, a quasi-political figure in Oaxaca, has a small-scale relief operation running out of her home. Neighbors, friends and members of the community sweat in her courtyard as they bag rations of food, basic care supplies and water and load them into the back of pickup trucks until the truck beds are brimming.

They head to Seccíon 7, an area of the city that has received little attention or assistance since the quake. The trucks pull up and immediately people are lining up, asking for water, diapers, feminine hygiene products, food, anything. People beg for someone to come see their homes, come see the destruction. When the rations are gone, people still linger around, nowhere to go. Most are sleeping outside for fear of an aftershock bringing down what little they have left.

Mendoza speeds back to the hospital/gymnasium when he gets the lead for a good contact in the government that can help expedite the process of getting aid here. After a day of meeting people who so desperately need it, the stakes feel higher than ever. As he walks in, a roundtable with Oaxaca’s secretary of health serendipitously begins. Direct Relief takes a seat at the table full of government officials, ready to make the offer of aid on a large scale. When Mendoza speaks, ears perk up and heads turn. “This is it,” says Mendoza later, recounting the moment. “This is what I was waiting for.”

Things move quicker now that officials know Direct Relief is here. A list, the officials promise, is coming from all of the hospitals in the area of what their needs are. Companies are expressing interest in helping, and FedEx has pledged to offer free transport for aid provided.

“Now we wait,” says Mendoza. Wait to get the list in hand, wait to get the products here in Mexico. “We are the only non-profit connecting with the local and federal government to coordinate a response, so that’s something.” — Meghan Dhaliwal is a journalist based in Mexico City.


Read more


Nepal: Nepal: Earthquake Emergency Appeal (MDRNP008) Revision n° 3

Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
Country: Nepal

This Revised Emergency Appeal seeks 62.9 million Swiss francs to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) in delivering humanitarian assistance to 700,000 people (140,000 families) affected by the 25 April and 12 May 2015 earthquakes over 38 months (extended from 32 months). The operation focuses on health; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); livelihoods, nutrition, food security; shelter (including non-food items); restoring family links (RFL); disaster risk reduction (DRR) and National Society capacity building. All targets and activities have been updated to reflect the funds available. The overall budget includes 6.5 million Swiss francs for the deployment of emergency response units (ERUs) and 1.6 million Swiss francs for the deployment of a Shelter Cluster coordination team. Details are available in the IFRC Revised Emergency Plan of Action.

The disaster and the Red Cross Red Crescent response to date

25 April 2015: An earthquake measuring 7.9 magnitude on the Richter scale strikes area between Kathmandu and Pokhara. 500,000 Swiss francs is allocated from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) and IFRC alerts its global disaster response tools as well as surge capacity for immediate deployment to support the NRCS.

27 April 2015: An Emergency Appeal is launched seeking 33.4 million Swiss francs to support 75,000 people. The IFRC starts deploying global tools and surge to support the NRCS.

12 May 2015: A strong aftershock, measuring 7.3 magnitude on the Richter scale, strikes with its epicentre 76 km northeast of Kathmandu. It affects 32 districts, causes more deaths and injuries, and damages or destroys buildings and infrastructures.

14 May 2015: The NRCS response reaches 42,600 families (213,000 people) with non-food relief, emergency shelter and medical assistance, with more than 7,000 NRCS staff and volunteers mobilized. The NRCS response in country is supported by the IFRC, ICRC and National Societies of 25 countries from Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Middle East.

16 May 2015: The Emergency Appeal is revised to 84.9 Swiss francs million to support 700,000 people.

June – September 2015: Seasonal monsoon rains trigger landslides and floods, that exacerbate the living conditions of people who lost their homes due to the earthquake and hamper road and trail access, disrupting humanitarian aid delivery to some areas.

16 December 2015: The Earthquake National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) is established in December 2015.

February 2016: The real-time evaluation is completed and published.

June 2016: An Agreement between the NRCS and NRA is signed paving the way for the recovery operations.

4 August 2016: The Emergency Appeal is revised to be in line with reconstruction guidelines circulated by the NRA and to reflect the current humanitarian needs of the affected people.

6 September 2017: The Emergency Appeal is revised to 62.9 million Swiss francs to assist 700,000 people, where all targets and activities have been updated to reflect the funds available.


Read more


Mexico: Direct Relief Staff Bound for Oaxaca, Mexico in Wake of Devastating Earthquake

Source: Direct Relief
Country: Mexico

On Thursday, Sept. 7, the Mexico City-based team of Direct Relief was busy preparing for Hurricane Katia—the category 3 hurricane expected to make landfall on Mexico’s east coast on Saturday morning. By Friday, Sept. 8, the team’s mission had doubled overnight.

At 11:49 p.m. local time, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of southern Mexico, crumbling homes on the coast and sending Mexico City’s residents out running into the streets as monuments and high rises trembled. As of 5 p.m. on Friday, the death toll from the quake has risen to 58, according to Luis Felipe Puente of Mexico’s National Emergency Services. The majority of the deaths occurred in Oaxaca, on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The temblor was an eerie reminder to those who lived through the 1985 earthquake, an 8.0 magnitude that claimed the lives of nearly 10,000.

Direct Relief will be focusing their relief efforts in Oaxaca, given that the area was the hardest hit.

Direct Relief will be working with medical companies and government agencies in Mexico to bring needed medical supplies to the most affected areas of rural Oaxaca. Using connections with both government agencies and businesses like Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, Direct Relief can work as an intermediary: assess the needs of the area, then obtain the supplies that can alleviate those needs and distribute them.

Direct Relief will arrive on the ground in Oaxaca on Saturday to begin connecting with those who are coordinating emergency response, and then start assessing their needs in terms of medication and medical supplies.

“We need to give this a shot. This was the largest earthquake to hit Mexico in 100 years… We need to do the best we can to help out as best we can,” said Eduardo Mendoza, senior manager of Direct Relief’s Mexico program.

— Meghan Dhaliwal is a journalist based in Mexico City.


Read more


Mexico: Mexico and Guatemala: Earthquake - Information Bulletin N° 1

Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
Country: Guatemala, Mexico

The Situation


According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), an 8.1-magnitude earthquake on the Richter Scale struck off the Pacific Coast of Mexico--around 87km (54 miles) south-west of Pijijiapan--at 23:50 local time on Thursday,7 September 2017 (04:50 Greenwich Meant Time [GMT] Friday). A tsunami warning was issued for Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Honduras; however, it was later lifted. An estimated 50 million Mexicans felt the tremor per the Mexican government.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the region within 250 km of the hypocentre of the 8 September 2017 earthquake has experienced 8 other magnitude 7+ earthquakes. Most occurred in the subduction zone to the southeast of yesterday’s event, near the Mexico-Guatemala border and none were larger than magnitude 7.5; the largest, a magnitude 7.4 thrust faulting earthquake offshore Guatemala in November 2012, resulted in at least 48 fatalities, over 150 injuries and significant damage near the coast.


According to a report from Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Relations, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake shook various departments in the country at 22:49 local time (04:49 GMT) for 1 and 33 seconds; the earthquake’s epicentre was 203 km to the west of San Marcos, with a profundity of 10 km.


Read more


Bhutan: Opening Remarks by the Hon'ble Secretary of Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs during the consultation workshop on the UN Inter-Agency Contingency Plan for Earthquakes

Source: UN Development Programme
Country: Bhutan

On behalf of the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, it gives me immense pleasure to extend a warm welcome to all the distinguished guests, delegates and participants to the United Nations Inter-Agency Earthquake Contingency Planning Workshop being organized by the United Nations in collaboration with the Department of Disaster Management.

Ladies and Gentlemen: as we are well aware, Bhutan is highly prone to various natural calamities such as earthquakes, glacier lake outburst floods, landslides, flash floods and forest fires. However, it is a known fact that the earthquakes pose one of the most serious threats to Bhutan. Although a detailed and comprehensive seismic zonation of the country is unavailable at present, its proximity to the north-eastern parts of India, which lies in the “most active” seismic Zone IV and V, indicates that vast stretches of Bhutan fall either in Zone IV or V, thereby making it highly vulnerable to earthquakes. Further, studies carried out by the Department of Geology and Mines point to the fact that Bhutan has not experienced a major earthquake for over three hundred years and that a major earthquake is imminent in Bhutan.

Bhutan’s vulnerability to earthquakes is further exacerbated by unplanned urbanization, socio-economic factors, remote settlements, inadequate levels of awareness, construction practices, lack of risk transfer mechanisms, environmental degradation and low levels of preparedness and response capacities. These setbacks were amply demonstrated in the past seismic events such as the 21st September, 2009 Narang earthquake and the 18th September, 2011 Sikkim earthquake, which together caused damages of more than 3,600 million Ngultrums.

Notwithstanding these shortcomings, I am pleased to share that Bhutan has made remarkable progress in putting in place a framework to provide the foundation of building community resilience. The Disaster Management Act of Bhutan, adopted in 2013, reinforces the collective nature of disaster risk management and outlines a holistic approach to dealing with disasters.

On the practical side, the Department of Disaster Management and the technical sectors, with support from the international community, has implemented several activities and programs on the ground in accordance with the Hyogo Framework for Action and the Sendai Framework. Specifically, in terms of earthquake preparedness, various awareness programs have been carried out such as the Ap Naka Television Series and awareness posters and pamphlets. The Department of Disaster Management has also facilitated the preparartion of the Dzongkhag Disaster Management and Contingency plans through the Community Based Disaster Risk Management approach. The recent Executive Order issued by the Hon’ble Prime Minister to implement the Incident Command System in all the 20 Dzongkhags, 15 Dungkhags and 4 Thromdes is expected to further strengthen our response preparedness, including during disasters that could be trigerred byearthquakes. With the activation of Incident Command System, we are expecting to learn rapidly and put in place a mechanish that is robust.

In addition to these initiatives, disaster management plans have been instituted in all schools in the country thereby enhancing preparedness through mock drills that are conducted on a regular basis. Schools have also been trained on adopting non-structural mitigation measures to minimize the impact of earthquakes.

Based on past experience and lessons learnt from the earthquakes of 2009 and 2011, the Disaster Management Department, through the support of the UNDP and in collaboration with the technical agencies such as the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement, Bhutan Standards Bureau and the Department of Culture has been able to train the Dzongkhag engineers, rural carpenters and masons of the six eastern and four western Dzongkhags in earthquake resilient construction techniques.

Complementing these efforts, the Department of Geology and Mines, under the Japan-World Bank funding, has installed seismic monitoring stations and intensity meters across the country for better understanding of seismic risk and to provide relevant information for better preparedness in the future. Within the project, the Department of Culture had also carried out typology study on rammed earth buildings and developed Guidelines for Improved Seismic Resilient Construction Techniques for Rammed Earth Structures in Bhutan. The project has also built the capacities of the Department of Engineering Services in retrofitting techniques for vulnerable buildings.

Although a lot has been achieved in the last few years, there continues to be challenges that Bhutan will face in the event of a major earthquake disaster. One of the biggest challenge would be that of coordination resulting from overall low level of preparedness, as well as inadequate planning and drills. The lack of Disaster Management and Contingency Plans in some Dzongkhags and Thromdes will pose serious response and coordination challenges. Besides, the RGoB still needs to put in place SOPs and conduct simulation drills to test the coordination and response mechanisms instituted as per the Incident Command System.

Another major challenge would be sustaining reliable communications as terestial based communication infrastructure could be crippled during a disaster caused by an earthquake. For effective response coordination and communication, establishment of National Emergency Operation Centre and Dzongkhag Emergency Operation Centre with provisions for emergency communication assumes utmost importance. However, at present, we only have the physical structure for the National Emergency Operation Centre and none of the most basic equipment to operationalize the Emergency Centre have been installed so far.

The lack of a permanent National Search & Rescue Training Institute is another major challenge for the country, which is proving to be a major setback in providing continuous training for SAR teams. The lack of Urban SAR trained personnel and the associated critical equipment could acutely hinder SAR operations in the event of a major earthquake. These needs must be prioritized and addressed within the soonest possible times.

In terms of response of the international community, there is a need for clear procedures and agreed post-disaster assistance mechanisms to facilitate mobilization of support from the United Nations, international humanitarian organizations, emergency organizations and other international agencies. Therefore, the proposal from the UN Country Team in Bhutan to develop a “UN Inter-Agency Earthquake Contingency Plan” is a highly welcome initiative and a critical step towards enhancing Bhutan’s state of preparedness in effectively and efficiently dealing with post-earthquake triggered disasters.

The UN Inter-Agency Earthquake Contingency Plan would also enable the RGOB and the international community to smoothly coordinate emergency response, relief, recovery and reconstruction in the aftermath of a major earthquake.

I understand, that during the two day workshop, the participants will review the existing coordination structures, agree with the RGOB and key partners on a suitable coordination mechanism in preparation for earthquakes, including clarifying roles and responsibilities and standard operating procedures. However, as mentioned earlier the RGoB has recently instituted the National Disaster Response Coordination Committee at the national level and the Incident Management Teams at the Dzongkhag level, whereby the concept of Incident Command System shall be followed for all response and coordination within the country. Thus, I would like to recommend that the UN Inter-Agency Earthquake Contingency Plan be aligned to complement the existing system that has been put in place.

I would also like to acknowledge that this exercise and the resultant Contingency Plan will not only be useful for response planning of the international community, in support of the RGoB, but would also contribute to the National Disaster Management and Contingency Plan which will be prepared in the near future.

I conclusion, I would like to underline that this workshop is being organized at an opportune time and that it would not have been possible without the interest and support of Mr. Gerald Daly, the UN Resident Coordinator in Bhutan. I wish to also express my deepest appreciation to the experts from the different UN Agencies and Durham University who are here to facilitate this workshop. Last but not the least, I would also like to thank all the distinguished participants of the RGoB, other international agencies and local CSOs, whose participation at this workshop, I believe, will bring about an outcome that will be of immense benefit to Bhutan.

Thank you and Tashi Delek!


Read more


Page 1 of 295


English Czech French German Hungarian Italian Polish Portuguese Russian Slovak Spanish

Who's Online

We have 1248 guests online


Members : 7
Content : 69495
Web Links : 6
Content View Hits : 25260392


Designed by the Search and Rescue Czech Republic


Managed by the Coordination Centre of Disaster Medicine


Restore Default Settings
feed-image Feed Entries

Login Form