Sep 19th, 1985, Mexico City was hit by a terrible earthquake; today, on the anniversary of that tragic event, Mother Earth decided to strike again. Who says she does not have a macabre sense of humor?
As soon as the ground stopped shaking, a dance of love emerged around the smoking debris of Mexico City. Thousands of individuals know what to do, how to react. No time to be a victim; time to move. Make a chain, move those rocks out of the way. Here is another one we pulled out of the collapsed building. People move faster than you can say the word authority. Emergency Management? Somos nosotros.
On top of every mountain of debris, a mountain of people disassembling rock by rock.
In Mexico, first responders don’t respond first. by the time they come, they will encounter a well-organized mob of saviors. They are not professional. They do not know NIMS, they do not have equipment other than their hands, buckets and a big heart. They give results.
First responders will come Armed Forces, firemen, EMS and “los topos” -that citizen corps of Earthquake rescuers-
Los Topos… “the moles” Mexican humor even during a tragedy.
In social media, “chilangos” ask for shovels, hammers and other tools to save lives. They coordinate without central command.
Resiliency starts when people don’t surrender to the catastrophe. Mexicans buried their dead in sep 19th 1985.. thousands of them. They will do the same with those who left us on Sep 19th 2017… and then they will keep building the city that in 2016 the NYtimes said it is the best place to visit in the whole world.
Mexican civil society was born after the Earthquake of sep 19th 1985; NGOs soared and democracy was accelerated. Sep 19th 2017 has shown that those strong links remain strong.