On September 19, 2017 a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Mexico City, the State of Puebla and surrounding areas causing widespread destruction, injuries, and loss of life. As of September 21, there are at least 40 reported collapsed structures, including two schools. Media reports estimate the death toll at 225, but the total is likely to rise given the population density of the affected areas.
U.S. Expresses Condolences and Deploys Disaster Response Team
During a press availability on the margins of the 72nd UN General Assembly Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took a moment to extend condolences to those who have suffered and continue to suffer, from the devastation caused by the natural disasters we have seen around the Western Hemisphere.
Speaking directly to the people of Mexico, Secretary Tillerson affirmed that the United States stands with them in the aftermath of two very bad and massive earthquakes. The Secretary shared, “The President did speak to President Pena Nieto earlier today, expressed his own deep concerns about the situation, also indicated though his immediate deployment of assistance to Mexico City of search and rescue expertise, a team – very large team – of people who are trained for these specific type of circumstances. Immediately he deployed those towards Mexico City with heavy equipment. President Pena Nieto obviously thanked the President for that, said he welcomed and accepted that assistance.”
The search and rescue team President Trump referenced in his conversation with Mexican President Nieto was deployed to Mexico by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on September 20, 2017 in response to urgent humanitarian needs caused by the earthquake. The USAID Disaster Response Team (DART) -- an elite team of disaster experts from USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and an urban search-and-rescue team from the Los Angeles County Fire Department -- will support the Government of Mexico by conducting damage assessments and coordinating with local authorities and aid groups to bring critical assistance to local people.
Secretary Tillerson noted President Trump assured Mexican President Nieto that there are other ways in which the United States can help and underscored that the United States stands ready to help the Mexican government and people in any way we can. “This, I think, is a real testament to the relationship between the United States and Mexico,” he said.
Assistance to U.S. Citizens in Mexico
The Department of State continues to offer support and assistance to U.S. citizens who are affected by these earthquakes. U.S. citizens in the area should monitor local news reports, follow directions from local officials, and contact their loved ones. For U.S. citizens facing emergencies, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City by calling 011-52-55-5080-2000. Please note, when in Mexico, you dial 55-5080-2000.
U.S. citizens may also contact the International Red Cross to help locate missing or injured family members at 844-782-9441 or use the International Reconnecting Families Inquiry Form.
To stay informed, U.S. citizens should monitor the Department’s Travel website for emergency alerts and stay tuned to the latest information on safety and security messages by visiting the U.S. Embassy website.
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