Aftershocks slow relief work in earthquake-damaged Mexican town


By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN, Associated Press

JUCHITAN, Mexico >> Government cargo planes flew in supplies and troops began distributing boxes of food to jittery survivors of an earthquake that destroyed a large part of Juchitan and killed at least 37 people here — more than half the nationwide total.

  • A worker recovers broken chairs and other items as a candy factory warehouse destroyed in Thursday’s magnitude 8.1 earthquake is demolished, in central Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Maria de Lourdes Quintana Lopez said she could not afford to wait for the government as she oversaw the demolition of her family business’ warehouse. “We have to work so that we’re not overcome with sadness.” Quintana said. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    A worker recovers broken chairs and other items as a candy factory warehouse destroyed in Thursday’s magnitude 8.1 earthquake is demolished, in central Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Maria de Lourdes Quintana Lopez said she could not afford to wait for the government as she oversaw the demolition of her family business’ warehouse. “We have to work so that we’re not overcome with sadness.” Quintana said. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • A family member laments the death of 64-year-old Reynalda Matus, as mourners prepare to bury her, at Miercoles Santo Cemetery in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Matus was killed when the pharmacy where she worked nights collapsed during Thursday’s massive earthquake. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    A family member laments the death of 64-year-old Reynalda Matus, as mourners prepare to bury her, at Miercoles Santo Cemetery in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Matus was killed when the pharmacy where she worked nights collapsed during Thursday’s massive earthquake. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • Mourners hold hands over the coffin of 64-year-old Reynalda Matus during a wake in her home, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Matus was killed when the pharmacy where she worked nights collapsed during Thursday’s massive earthquake. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    Mourners hold hands over the coffin of 64-year-old Reynalda Matus during a wake in her home, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Matus was killed when the pharmacy where she worked nights collapsed during Thursday’s massive earthquake. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • A soldier looks on as women in a zone heavily affected by Thursday’s massive earthquake stand in line for rations and water, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The boxes contained a mix of common Mexican household dried goods, including beans, corn flour, rice, powdered milk, tuna, hot chocolate, and and either jalapeno peppers or spicy sauce. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    A soldier looks on as women in a zone heavily affected by Thursday’s massive earthquake stand in line for rations and water, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The boxes contained a mix of common Mexican household dried goods, including beans, corn flour, rice, powdered milk, tuna, hot chocolate, and and either jalapeno peppers or spicy sauce. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • Musicians stand in front of tombs as they play during the burial of 64-year-old Reynalda Matus inside Miercoles Santo Cemetery, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Matus was killed when the pharmacy where she worked nights collapsed during Thursday’s massive earthquake.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    Musicians stand in front of tombs as they play during the burial of 64-year-old Reynalda Matus inside Miercoles Santo Cemetery, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Matus was killed when the pharmacy where she worked nights collapsed during Thursday’s massive earthquake.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • A 71-year-old woman, who was injured when a wall collapsed on her in Thursday’s massive earthquake, receives treatment in a medical ward set up on a school’s basketball court, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Juchitan General Hospital moved their operations to the basketball court after being devastated in the quake. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    A 71-year-old woman, who was injured when a wall collapsed on her in Thursday’s massive earthquake, receives treatment in a medical ward set up on a school’s basketball court, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Juchitan General Hospital moved their operations to the basketball court after being devastated in the quake. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • Neighbors look into an earthquake-damaged home, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The 8.1 quake off the southern Pacific coast just before midnight Thursday toppled hundreds of buildings in several states. Hardest-hit was Juchitan, where a third of the city’s homes collapsed or were uninhabitable. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    Neighbors look into an earthquake-damaged home, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The 8.1 quake off the southern Pacific coast just before midnight Thursday toppled hundreds of buildings in several states. Hardest-hit was Juchitan, where a third of the city’s homes collapsed or were uninhabitable. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • An altar to the Virgin of Guadalupe is covered with fallen debris inside the earth-damaged home where Larissa Garcia, 24, lived with her family in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The family was caught under rubble when the house partially collapsed, leaving Garcia with a broken arm and her father with a head injury. Her mother, who had to be pulled out from underneath a foot-thick section of wall which collapsed on her back, remains in a wheelchair and unable to walk. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    An altar to the Virgin of Guadalupe is covered with fallen debris inside the earth-damaged home where Larissa Garcia, 24, lived with her family in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The family was caught under rubble when the house partially collapsed, leaving Garcia with a broken arm and her father with a head injury. Her mother, who had to be pulled out from underneath a foot-thick section of wall which collapsed on her back, remains in a wheelchair and unable to walk. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • Family members grieve over the coffin containing the remains of 64-year-old Reynalda Matus during a wake, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Matus was killed when the pharmacy where she worked nights collapsed during Thursday’s massive earthquake. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    Family members grieve over the coffin containing the remains of 64-year-old Reynalda Matus during a wake, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Matus was killed when the pharmacy where she worked nights collapsed during Thursday’s massive earthquake. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • A young woman laughs as she talks with neighbors from inside a makeshift bed on the street outside her earthquake damaged home in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The 8.1 quake off the southern Pacific coast just before midnight Thursday toppled hundreds of buildings in several states. Hardest-hit was Juchitan, where a third of the city’s homes collapsed or were uninhabitable. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    A young woman laughs as she talks with neighbors from inside a makeshift bed on the street outside her earthquake damaged home in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The 8.1 quake off the southern Pacific coast just before midnight Thursday toppled hundreds of buildings in several states. Hardest-hit was Juchitan, where a third of the city’s homes collapsed or were uninhabitable. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • A family stands amidst the rubble of their earthquake damaged home and car in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. A magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck very late Thursday. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    A family stands amidst the rubble of their earthquake damaged home and car in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. A magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck very late Thursday. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • A view of a partially collapsed hotel in Matias Romero, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. One of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in Mexico struck off the country’s southern coast, toppling hundreds of buildings, triggering tsunami evacuations and sending panicked people fleeing into the streets in the middle of the night. At least 35 people were reported killed.(AP Photo/Felix Marquez)http://epix.ap.org/#

    A view of a partially collapsed hotel in Matias Romero, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. One of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in Mexico struck off the country’s southern coast, toppling hundreds of buildings, triggering tsunami evacuations and sending panicked people fleeing into the streets in the middle of the night. At least 35 people were reported killed.(AP Photo/Felix Marquez)http://epix.ap.org/#

  • Hospital workers organize their drugs and supplies, in a medical ward set up on a school basketball court, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Juchitan General Hospital moved their operations to the basketball court after being devastated by a 8.1 earthquake late Thursday. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    Hospital workers organize their drugs and supplies, in a medical ward set up on a school basketball court, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Juchitan General Hospital moved their operations to the basketball court after being devastated by a 8.1 earthquake late Thursday. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • A van sits in a pile of rubble after it was smashed by a wall that collapsed during a massive earthquake, in Mexico City, Friday Sept. 8, 2017. One of the most powerful earthquakes ever to strike Mexico hit off its southern Pacific coast, killing at least 35 people, toppling houses, government offices and businesses. Mexico’s capital escaped major damage, but the quake terrified sleeping residents, many of whom still remember the catastrophic 1985 earthquake that killed thousands and devastated large parts of the city. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

    A van sits in a pile of rubble after it was smashed by a wall that collapsed during a massive earthquake, in Mexico City, Friday Sept. 8, 2017. One of the most powerful earthquakes ever to strike Mexico hit off its southern Pacific coast, killing at least 35 people, toppling houses, government offices and businesses. Mexico’s capital escaped major damage, but the quake terrified sleeping residents, many of whom still remember the catastrophic 1985 earthquake that killed thousands and devastated large parts of the city. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

  • Excavation work continues on City Hall which had partially collapsed in Thursday’s magnitude 8.1 earthquake, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Workers Saturday found the body of a municipal police officer in the rubble who had been missing. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    Excavation work continues on City Hall which had partially collapsed in Thursday’s magnitude 8.1 earthquake, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. Workers Saturday found the body of a municipal police officer in the rubble who had been missing. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • Soldiers hand out bags of water to people in zones heavily affected by Thursday’s massive earthquake, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. A magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck very late Thursday. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    Soldiers hand out bags of water to people in zones heavily affected by Thursday’s massive earthquake, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. A magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck very late Thursday. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • People walk on the beach under an overcast sky before the arrival of Hurricane Katia, in Tecolutla, Veracruz state, Mexico, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Hurricane Katia in the Gulf of Mexico is stationary about 190 miles (310 kilometers) north-northeast of Veracruz and forecasters don’t expect much movement overnight. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

    People walk on the beach under an overcast sky before the arrival of Hurricane Katia, in Tecolutla, Veracruz state, Mexico, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Hurricane Katia in the Gulf of Mexico is stationary about 190 miles (310 kilometers) north-northeast of Veracruz and forecasters don’t expect much movement overnight. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

of

Expand

Some people continued to sleep outside, fearful of more collapses, as strong aftershocks continued to rattle the town, including a magnitude 5.2 jolt early Sunday. Some prompted rescue workers to pause in their labor.
Local officials said they had counted nearly 800 aftershocks of all sizes since late Thursday’s big quake, and the U.S. Geological Survey counted nearly 60 with a magnitude of 4.5 or greater.

Teams of soldiers and federal police armed with shovels and sledgehammers fanned out across neighborhoods in Juchitan to help demolish damaged buildings. Dump trucks choked some narrow streets as they began hauling away the many tons of rubble.

Maria de Lourdes Quintana Lopez said she couldn’t wait for the government’s assistance as she oversaw the demolition of her family candy business’ warehouse.

“We have to work so that we’re not overcome with sadness,” Quintana said. “We’re not going to wait for the government to do what it has to do.”

The 8.1 magnitude earthquake claimed 65 lives in Mexico, but nowhere more than Juchitan.

There were so many deaths that slow-moving funeral processions caused temporary gridlock at intersections as they converged on the city’s cemeteries.

Scenes of mourning were repeated over and over again in Juchitan, where a third of the city’s homes collapsed or were uninhabitable, President Enrique Pena Nieto said late Friday. Part of the city hall collapsed.

On the outskirts of the city, the general hospital settled into its temporary home — a school gymnasium with gurneys parked atop the basketball court. The earthquake rendered the hospital itself uninhabitable, so the gym contained a mix of patients that pre-dated the quake and those who suffered injuries as a result of it.
Maria Teresa Sales Alvarez said it was “chaos” when the earthquake struck the single-story hospital, but staff moved patients outside and transferred most of those who required specialized care to other facilities.

Selma Santiago Jimenez waved flies away from her husband and mopped his brow while he awaited transfer for surgery. He suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident before the earthquake. Windows broke and doors fell in the hospital, but staff quickly helped get her husband out, she said.

In addition to the deaths in Juchitan, the quake killed nine other people in Oaxaca and 19 in neighboring states. Two others died in a mudslide in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz after Hurricane Katia hit late Friday.

Pena Nieto said authorities were working to re-establish supplies of water and food and provide medical attention to those who need it. He vowed the government would help rebuild.

At the local fairgrounds in Juchitan, about two dozen residents of a central neighborhood gathered at the gates to what the military was using as a staging ground.

They came to complain that aid packages that the military started distributing Saturday had not arrived to many families. An army captain pleaded for patience, but ultimately agreed to take two pickups full of packages and water to their neighborhood.

It wasn’t enough to satisfy all the residents who mobbed the trucks, but the captain promised soldiers would continue canvassing the city street by street.

Associated Press writers Peter Orsi and Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report.



Source link