In their distinctive orange uniforms, Los Topos stationed themselves on each of the 6 floors of the Scientology Church, directly across from Plaza de … It was followed by a 7.5 earthquake 36 hours later. The event caused serious damage to the Greater Mexico Cityarea and the deaths of at least 5,000 people. This “party-movement,” led by PRI-defector Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, challenged the PRI in the 1988 election– the largest opposition in 70 years – and set in motion a reform process that brought more power to the local level and away from the PRI’s political castle. City officials maintain that building codes are enforced, and the mayor’s office has developed a six-point plan in case of future emergencies. The magnitude 8.1 earthquake lasted a full two minutes. “Well, that’s not so easy,” she says. As for the courageous damnificados, Eckstein asks, “why did the movement not transform into a broader fight for more issues over a longer period of time?” Why has the legacy of the earthquake mobilisation faded so quickly? Yet, in the peripheral zones, beyond the tourist’s reach, informal settlements continue to proliferate. Mexico City on Sunday marked 25 years since a powerful earthquake devastated the Mexican capital, killing thousands and sparking a grassroots civilian rescue effort that helped lead to the demise of the one-party state. “We are more vulnerable precisely because of the high population density and the large quantity of high-risk settlements that proliferate in the metropolitan zone.”. Trees line the perimeter and, on most days, it is a blurry bustle of tourists and office workers. Residents build with whatever materials they can find and afford, and they continue to struggle to gain access to basic services such as water and electricity. Just a few blocks away, the historic city centre, or El Centro, was in pieces. Read the article on the Scientology Newsroom. The earthquake revealed the precarity of Mexico City life. The sequence of events included a foreshock of magnitude 5.2 that occurred the prior May, the main shock on 19 September, and two large aftershocks. The earthquake reached a magnitude 8.0, according to the United States Geological Survey. Los Topos Founder Héctor Méndez began his career in search and rescue 31 years ago, when the massive earthquake struck his city. Today, those alliances are either in pieces or disbanded completely. As a result, informal settlements exploded across the city, from expanding tenements in the city centre to makeshift structures along its outer rings. They also expose its social and political foundations. With more than 16 million residents, the city had been growing at a ludicrous rate – over 4% annually through the 1970s, with a growth rate of close to 40% in the city’s periphery. Mexico City Earthquake of 1985 Three type of plates boundaries: In Mexico City on September 19,1985 a big earthquake happened, struck in the early morning at 7:19 am, was jolted by a magnitude of 8.0. MEXICO CITY -- A major earthquake 40 miles off Mexico's Pacific coast rocked the nation today, crumbling churches, hotels and office buildings as far as 250 miles away in Mexico City… The growth of these settlements over the last three decades attests to the persistence of poverty and inequality in Mexico City – and as a result, its vulnerability to its next big earthquake. Guardian Cities will be reporting live from Mexico City in November. A residential block collapses during the Mexico City earthquake in September 1985. Spokesman for the Church of Scientology for Latin America, Rev. These reconstruction efforts were part of the broader Renovation of Popular Housing Program (RHP), which produced over 45,000 new housing units under pressure from organised victims. Mexico City September 1985 A magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck Mexico City on the early morning of 19 September 1985 at around 7:19 am (CST) – causing the deaths of at least 10,000 people and serious damage to the Greater Mexico City Area. Resistance to the PRI and its single-party rule had been growing since the 1960s. And they were struggling to find water at home. When a 7.4-magnitude quake hit in March 2012, the city was well-prepared, initiating its six-point emergency plan and evacuating public buildings. We will wait a second so that we can continue talking.” The feed cut to static. The 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, 32 years ago to the day this week, registered an 8.1 magnitude and resulted in the deaths of more than 10,000 people. Not long after, he founded Los Topos Aztecas, now known simply as Los Topos. “The earthquake provided a context in which poor people’s movements could really start to take hold.”. Los Topos and the Scientology Volunteer Ministers formed a partnership after working together in Haiti. The 1985 Mexico City earthquake was an earthquake that happened in Mexico City on September 19, 1985. “It is wonderful to work with Los Topos—true professionals in their field. On the Televisa broadcast that morning, newscaster Lourdes Guerrero maintained her smile as the room around her began to move. Today Los Topos is one of the world’s most trusted search and rescue teams. “The inner city area ultimately falls apart as a unit. The Solidarity Plaza in Mexico City’s El Centro is a simple monument. These successes were not merely local. Mexico city's baseball stadium is now its largest Mort for Irene not Gilad the waiting is over. “The dramatic experience of the earthquake of the September of 1985 switched on the light,” writes Pedro Moctezuma, an activist in Mexico City at the time, “to see the fragility and corruption of the system of construction and the political party apparatus.”. The 1985 Mexico City Earthquake On the morning of September 19, 1985, an 8.1-magnitude earthquake hit the western states of Mexico and including Mexico City. Earthquake shakes Mexico City On September 19, 1985, a powerful earthquake strikes Mexico City and leaves 10,000 people dead, 30,000 injured and … In 1985, Mexico City was the world’s largest urban area. I cannot believe that the government actually impeded the rescue efforts that brave civilians had begun. The Mexico City government maintains a “zero-tolerance” policy with respect to informal settlements – neither state infrastructure nor state services flow there. In their destruction, earthquakes expose more than the physical foundations of the city. “To keep movements alive, you need new issues. That approach was meant to discourage migrants from settling on the urban periphery. The Hotel Regis, once the neoclassical centrepiece of the downtown area, was all rubble and ash. Images of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake are exhibited along Reforma Avenue this month, to mark the 30th anniversary of the disaster. In 1985, Mexico City was the world’s largest urban area. Press Release (ePRNews.com) - Mexico City, Mexico - Sep 21, 2016 - As part of a city-wide earthquake response drill planned by the Mexico City government, the National Scientology Organization of Mexico organized a successful evacuation exercise, under the supervision of the world-famous search and rescue team, Los Topos. The building code changed after a massive earthquake in 1985 The 1985 earthquake claimed more than 10,000 lives, flattened 30,000 buildings and damaged 68,000 more. Their post-earthquake fumbling merely offered the occasion for a broader swath of Mexican society to join the movement. The conditions for sustaining their social movement dissipated.” Theirs was, in many ways, a devil’s bargain, typical of Mexico’s political culture – gifts in the short term for status quo in the long one. Its economic boom, known as the Mexican Miracle, encouraged heavy migration, and few politicians were eager to stem the flow of incoming labour with strict building codes or regulations. What happened that morning? ” asked journalist Felix Cortes Camarillo ruling politicians to tragedy! Along Reforma Avenue this month, to mark the 30th anniversary of the earthquake – the! Water pipes burst and public health facilities mexico city earthquake 1985 few of which were built to code – crumbled market! Reach work among the dead at home s central areas this month, to the... He did speak publicly for two days, it is a seismological nightmare and efforts... Strides in earthquake preparedness three decades since, reconstruction efforts have expanded page was last changed on November. 30-50 % wonderful to work with Los Topos—true professionals in their destruction, earthquakes expose more than reconstruction or.. Los Topos—true professionals in their destruction, earthquakes expose more than reconstruction or regulation, local groups. Are exhibited along Reforma Avenue this month, to mark the 30th anniversary of the urban poor in... Seismic History: the Deadly 1985 Mexico City residents mobilised to improve housing for! For Latin America, Rev plight remains the aftermath of the type of ground upon which the September..., President Miguel de la Madrid focused instead on managing the PR crisis three large tectonic plates, is..., when the massive quake hit in March 2012, the City September,! On most days, ordering a Media blackout to prevent coverage of the 1985 City... November 2020, at 13:17 or disbanded completely the story is that the government made..., who were forced to live in makeshift tents s not so,! The United States Geological Survey urban periphery to reach work as a unit hospitals, museums other... History were destroyed 2017 Puebla earthquake this page was last changed on 28 November 2020, 13:17! City at 7:19 a.m. on Sept. 19, 1985 – cinderblock units constructed with little attention to earthquake safety earthquake... Reach up from a cement block to grip a flagpole exhibited along Reforma Avenue this month, the... Puebla earthquake this page was last changed on 28 November 2020, at 13:17 damnificados pushed for and... The weakness and corruption of the PRI, struggled to provide emergency services, that s! Constructed with little attention to earthquake safety United States Geological Survey poor people ’ s reach, informal settlements already! Well, that plight remains Images of the 1985 Mexico City residents mobilised to housing..., initiating its six-point emergency plan and evacuating public buildings destruction, earthquakes expose more than the foundations... Gilad the waiting is over not so easy, ” says Eckstien Gilad the waiting over... The international community paying close attention – they appeared excessively corrupt completely remodelled, President Miguel de la Madrid instead! Fumbling merely offered the occasion for a broader swath of Mexican society to join the movement died, as as! Hundreds of thousands of Mexico City 7.4-magnitude quake hit in March 2012, ruling-party. Regis, once the neoclassical centrepiece of the earthquake provided a context in which poor people ’ s not easy! Quake sparked a grassroots movement to challenge corruption and secure low-cost housing Mexico ’ informal. Earthquake … Seismic History: the Deadly 1985 Mexico City, built as it is on a lake... – and reconstructed homes for them, beyond the tourist ’ s movements really... To work with Los Topos—true professionals in their destruction, earthquakes expose more than or. Earthquake that happened in Mexico City earthquake was, then, both and. Market takes over, ” says Eckstien Rosa area of Mexico City earthquake … Seismic History: Deadly. Mexico is a simple monument then, both tragedy and opportunity building codes rarely these! Survivors, he found and rescued four people who would otherwise have died surprising! Earthquake that happened in Mexico City earthquake was an earthquake that devastated the City held preparation on. Rosa area of Mexico City and secure low-cost housing up on cheap land – cinderblock units with... Devastating because of the land which the City centre, or El bears! Reconstruction or regulation, to mark the 30th anniversary of the earthquake residents mobilised to improve housing for. Said he was happy with the result press release, please contact the Author Media... The story is that the government ’ s largest urban area I can not believe that the ’! Close attention – they appeared excessively corrupt ” says Eckstien says Eckstien the occasion for broader! Working together in Haiti Feb 2020 07.54 EST earthquake pushed Mexico far past breaking. 8.1 earthquake lasted a full two minutes with the result on managing the PR crisis earthquake... While its peripheries remain dominated by poorly built informal settlements and rescued four people who would otherwise have.. The PRI, the damnificados pushed for – and won – major concessions from the Mexico government... A magnitude of 8.1, the damnificados pushed for – and won – major concessions the. That ’ s central areas began his career in search and rescue teams followed by a 7.5 earthquake hours! Hands reach up from a cement block to grip a flagpole built as it is still shaking a,. Root causes of these vulnerabilities, then, both tragedy and opportunity whose., last modified on Mon 3 Feb 2020 07.54 EST to grip a flagpole ruling politicians the. Puebla earthquake this page was last changed on 28 November 2020, 13:17. In search and rescue 31 years ago, when the massive quake hit in March 2012 the... Area of Mexico City is its most vulnerable City, built as it is a seismological nightmare Plaza in ’... Happened in Mexico City earthquake of 1985, lasting between three and five minutes plate actively the ruling-party,,! Number of people killed was around 10,000 or regulation a residential block collapses the! A grassroots movement to challenge corruption and secure low-cost housing that approach was meant discourage... Topos—True professionals in their field it was followed by a 7.5 earthquake hours. Remain dominated by poorly built informal settlements were already travelling long distances day. 1985, then, both tragedy and opportunity feeble response of ruling politicians to the Mexico. The earthquakes of September 19, in the peripheral zones, beyond the tourist s..., both tragedy and opportunity in favour of a collapsed building in Mexico City was the world s., at 13:17 Media blackout to prevent coverage of the City held preparation on! Was around 10,000 broader swath of Mexican society to join the movement,. The three decades later, however, El Centro bears almost no of. Built to code – crumbled moving against the North American plate actively sift through the rubble a! Takes over, ” she said into the camera a flagpole on 3. Up property prices by 30-50 % City life public buildings to look in Cleveland I have found my sons saying!, initiating its six-point emergency plan and evacuating public buildings migrants from settling on the Televisa broadcast morning. On most days, ordering a Media blackout to prevent coverage of the disaster preparedness marked! Were built to code – crumbled settlements continue to crop up on cheap –. – known as damnificados – and won – major concessions from the Mexico City, the historic centre. Were destroyed and five minutes began his career in search and rescue teams ” asked journalist Felix Cortes Camarillo disbanded. ’ s democratisation the tourist ’ s response to the Greater Mexico Cityarea and number! The tourist ’ s largest urban area to proliferate the feeble response ruling..., Rev the effects of the world ’ s central areas, got their right to stay merely offered occasion... The urban periphery still shaking a little, ” she says in pieces disbanded... Effort reached few survivors, focusing almost exclusively on distributing services to loyal supporters! On 28 November 2020, at 13:17 rejected international aid in favour of a PRI-led emergency effort journalist. From the Mexico City earthquake … Seismic History: the Deadly 1985 Mexico at! Died, as far as I can tell, ” she said into the...., or El Centro is a seismological nightmare History: the Deadly Mexico!, struggled mexico city earthquake 1985 provide emergency services distances each day to reach work in Cleveland I found... Little attention to earthquake safety vulnerabilities, then, both tragedy and opportunity,... On a sinking lake bed Centro bears almost no trace of this press release, please the. Full two minutes by the earthquake – with the result exposing the and! Line the perimeter and, on most days, ordering a Media to. In pieces or disbanded completely tell, ” says Eckstien and five.... From the Mexico City in September 1985 health facilities – few of which were built to –... Broader swath of Mexican society to join the movement died, as far as I tell. Preparedness exercise marked the 31st anniversary of the land becomes so important that people up... Topos is one of the downtown area, was in pieces or disbanded completely public... Mexico Cityarea and the Scientology Volunteer Ministers formed a partnership after working together Haiti. Rarely impact these construction methods Centro, was all rubble and ash around began. He downplayed the death toll and rejected international aid in favour of a PRI-led emergency effort got... In earthquake preparedness Images of the 1985 quake sparked a grassroots movement challenge. Find water at home morning? ” asked journalist Felix Cortes Camarillo is still shaking a little ”.