Beyond the Cusp

September 25, 2017

Israeli Response and the Mexican Earthquakes


There actually is life outside of politics and sometimes it becomes more challenging and fraught with agony, tragedy, fears, hopes, frightening possibilities and a few slivers of hope. That would be one way of describing this past month in Mexico where they have been struck by a series of devastating earthquakes with perhaps Mexico City feeling the hardest strikes. Nations have sent their teams to assist with the recovery and searching for survivors in the aftermath and, as usual, Israel is amongst those nations. Israel dispatched their Israeli Defense Force (IDF) specialty teams and they are on the ground working with the Mexican authorities and coordinating with other units to maximize their assistance. Below is a short video showing, amongst other items, the reception they received upon their arrival in the hard hit center of Mexico City.



IDF Rescue Efforts in Mexico

IDF Rescue Efforts in Mexico


These IDF soldiers of mercy have left their families behind and are spending the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, in Mexico. They did not let being in Mexico interfere with one very important part of the Rosh Hashanah service to go unheard as they gathered when able to hear the shofar as seen below.



The introductions aside, the events which brought the IDF relief services as well as those from other nations were some devastating earthquakes. These quakes have shook Mexico throughout this month with measurements of 8.1, 7.1 and finally another at 6.1 starting with the largest on September 8 off the southern Pacific coast, near Chiapas state. The damages have been extensive and hundreds have lost their lives and many thousands injured with the searches continuing for survivors as well as other victims still buried in the rubble of collapsed buildings. Below is a video showing some of the events from the latest earthquake.



These IDF soldiers and officers are different from the usual medical as well as search and recue teams which Israel is well known for providing, but the Mexican authorities informed Israel that they had these areas well covered and requested Israel assist in other areas. So, responding to the extraordinary needs, this Israeli delegation consists of seventy-one soldiers from Home Front Command including construction specialists and engineers. They will be tasked with scanning and inspecting buildings damaged from the earthquakes to determine whether they are reparable, need to be demolished or are habitable. Col. Itamar Cohen announced that as they arrived thirty-six hours after the earthquake struck, the units were still able to assist in lifesaving operations. Col. Cohen stated, “We will stay here as long as it takes to continue carrying out rescue operations.” The earthquakes were spread seemingly along a single fault line, but they are actually located on what is called the Mexican subduction zone, a weakened area in the earth’s crust. The largest of the earthquakes occurred along a known major fault with the others falling along the weaker zone likely triggered by the large 8.1 quake. Let us pray that we have heard the end of aftershocks, if you can call 7.1 and 6.1 aftershocks and not subsequent earthquakes.


Map of Mexico Earthquakes

Map of Mexico Earthquakes


The World Para Swimming Championships which were to be held in Mexico City near the end of September have had to be postponed. The Israeli delegations of six swimmers, their coach and three assistants returned to Israel aboard the same plane which brought the relief team. Meanwhile, the damages to the Mexican nation are beginning to be realized and it has been extensive with numerous structures having collapsed and an unknown number potentially having been damaged beyond repair and thousands likely to be made homeless. The Apostle Catholic Church in Atzala collapsing has been considered an example of the disheartening destructions across a large swath of Mexico resulting from the series of devastating earthquakes (see below). The church collapsed during the baptism ceremony for a two-month-old baby and resulted in the death of eleven family members, including the infant and three other children. The sole survivors were the child’s father, the administering priest and his assistant. Three days of mourning have been announced by the Mexican President. Meanwhile, orders have been given for the evacuation of many of Mexico City hospitals fearing their structural integrity. Hampering the caring for the injured and other efforts, have been constant intermittent power failures.


Catholic Church in Atzala Collapsing

Catholic Church in Atzala Collapsing


Numerous roadways and highways have been damaged by these earthquakes. A major bridge in the Oaxaca highway system finally collapsed after the most recent earthquake along the Coatzacoalcos-Salina Cruz Branch of the highway system (see below). This was just one of the major roads to suffer closure due to cracks in the road surface to structural damage rendering overpasses and bridges unsafe for traffic bearing loads. Such a series of earthquakes has been devastating to Mexico in every way possible disrupting businesses with many ventures unlikely to continue, as they will be unable to recover from the damages. The disruptions have struck lives, families, businesses, cities and the nation as a whole all of which will take quite some time for the nation to make a full recovery. It will take aid from numerous sources and assistance from experts across numerous fields and likely from many nations. As already stated, the Israeli team of IDF structural, construction and engineering teams from the Homefront Command will remain in Mexico for as long as required. President Trump has also offered any assistance and expertise which the Mexico government requests as well as disaster relief. We can only hope such will be sufficient and that with the prayers and an end to these disastrous earthquakes, that Mexico will recover before too long.


Coatzacoalcos-Salina Cruz Branch Bridge

Coatzacoalcos-Salina Cruz Branch Bridge


The only thing left to accomplish is to offer a prayer for the people of Mexico and may the rescue efforts succeed in reaching everybody trapped in the rubble in time and with only the most minor of injuries. We hope the worst has passed and the future will bring relief and rescue to those in need and hope for those now in pain. Here is a prayer that Mexico recovers and will be reinstated to her full glory and find herself restored in all ways and means possible.


Beyond the Cusp



1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.


    Comment by OyiaBrown — September 30, 2017 @ 8:24 AM | Reply

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