August and September were difficult months for Mexico. On Aug. 31, Tropical Storm Lidia lashed Baja California and parts of western Mexico with heavy rain, resulting in flooding, the destruction of infrastructure and homes, and tragic loss of life, as well as significant environmental degradation and pollution.
On Sept. 7, a magnitude-8.1 earthquake hit the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, killing more than 100 people and leaving thousands homeless.
Then, a magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck on Sept. 19, killing more than 230 people in Mexico City and the states of Puebla and Morelos.
The disasters triggered a huge outpouring of support from the international community to help those most affected by the devastation and destruction. As a result, ICF has granted over $130,000 in grants for disaster relief — but more is needed for the long-term reconstruction of the affected communities.
In the aftermath of these disasters, ICF has been in regular contact with our grantees and partners in the affected regions to identify relief, recovery, and longer-term rehabilitation needs. Our short-term objective was to help the children affected by these disasters to normalize their lives and return to school as soon as possible, through repairs to schools and orphanages, scholarships for tuition and school supplies, construction of temporary classrooms and treatments for post-traumatic stress.
We have responded to these natural disasters through a trio of funds: one focused on Baja’s Lidia recovery, another on the Chiapas/Oaxaca earthquake, and a fund devoted to the Mexico City-area earthquake. We encourage you to consider contributing to these efforts so we can restore a sense of normalcy to the affected communities.
Now, as the affected communities enter the recovery and reconstruction phase ICF is working with our grantees and other funders to devise a long-term reconstruction strategy and leverage matching funds for our donors’ contributions to these funds.
The Baja California Disaster Relief Fund
After Tropical Storm Lidia hit Baja California, two of ICF’s program officers visited Los Cabos and surveyed the extensive damage on the ground. The immediate needs of displaced residents were apparent; many communities appeared to have been overlooked, with clean-up and relief efforts focused on the tourist resort areas. Many of our grantee organizations were using limited resources to help the communities they serve with basic needs such as food and medicine.
Since August, ICF’s generous donor community has made contributions to the Baja California Disaster Relief Fund. ICF has granted over $15,000 to our local partners to support everything from immediate disaster response to rebuilding efforts. ICF directed funds to organizations like Amigos de los Niños, which distributed mattresses and care packages to impacted neighborhoods, Los Cabos Humane Society, who stepped up to rescue stranded animals and provide them with medical services, and Red Autismo, who are working to repair and rebuild families’ homes.
The International Disaster Relief Funds
The International Disaster Relief Fund is aiding in the recovery and mid- to long- term rehabilitation and reconstruction after the earthquake in Oaxaca and Chiapas, as well as the earthquake in Mexico City, Puebla, and Morelos.
As of now, ICF has granted over $130,000 to organizations including:
- Fundación Dibujando Un Mañana A.C., to help five schools or orphanages in Oaxaca and Mexico City conduct urgent repairs and offer PTSD treatment so students may return to class, and to;
- Hope Worldwide for an emergency medical brigade in rural areas of Morelos for rescue efforts and emergency medical assistance in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake;
- Cantaro Azul, A.C., for the installation of permanent water filters in rural communities in Morelos after the earthquake;
- Voces y Visiones de Malinalco, A.C., for a community-driven process to build 15 temporary classrooms for more than 600 students in Santa Monica, Oluican in the State of Mexico;
- Fundación El Peñon, I. A.P., for scholarships to students who lost their homes in Morelos, so they can continue to attend school;
- Fundación Hogares, I.A.P., to rehabilitate small-businesses and provide trainings for economic development and capacity building in Jojutla, Morelos.
Planning for Preparedness
Throughout our history, ICF has also supported emergency preparedness initiatives to mitigate the impact of future disasters. In mid-2016, with funding from ICF, Centro Mujeres, A.C. offered hurricane preparedness workshops in six marginalized neighborhoods of San Jose del Cabo.
This preparedness workshop enabled neighborhoods to take preventative measures that saved lives during Tropical Storm Lidia. The neighborhoods prepared by Centro Mujeres implemented their alert phase at the first announcement by authorities and evacuated every family identified in their evacuation plans. This directly saved the lives of 15 families whose houses, located along a riverbed, were either swept away in flooding or severely damaged.
Each neighborhood was prepared with sufficient emergency kits and communication tools to endure the deadly storm. Community members carried out a post-storm evaluation to quickly assess damage and community needs. This enabled prompt action to relocate families and mobilize resources.
This is just one example of how ICF can support communities to prepare for a disaster, in addition to responding to urgent needs in the aftermath.
Offer Your Support
August and September were certainly tumultuous months for communities across Mexico. However, the international community offered its unwavering generosity and support for our neighbors in the most trying times. ICF is proud to have generous loyal donors and to have been a go-to organization for new donors. More importantly, we are honored to be entrusted to help people rebuild their lives and restore hope in the aftermath of these terrible tragedies.
As these communities continue to rebuild, please consider making a donation to the Baja California Disaster Relief Fund, the Mexico Disaster Relief Fund for Oaxaca & Chiapas, or the Mexico Disaster Relief Fund for Mexico City/Chiapas/Morelos.