Things That Matter

After Devastating Earthquake, Mexicans Are Showing Solidarity And Unity As Recovery Efforts Begin

After a magnitude 7.1 earthquake devastated central and parts of southern Mexico yesterday afternoon, the country is coming together to focus on rescue and recovery efforts, and to help those in need. The latest data reported has the death toll at more than 200 people. Deaths have been reported in Mexico City and other areas impacted by the earthquake, such as the states of Morelos, Puebla, Guerrero and Oaxaca.

 The death toll could rise as rescue workers continue to sift through the rubble of several collapsed buildings.

Luis Felipe Puente, the national coordinator for civil protection, tweeted an updated death toll from the earthquake with a breakdown of the areas where people died. According to Puente, Mexico City sustained the highest number of deaths at 86, with 12 other casualties reported in the State of Mexico. It’s also been confirmed that there have been 71 deaths in Morelos, 43 deaths in Puebla, four deaths in Guerrero and one death in Oaxaca.

Sobering footage of the devastating earthquake continues to make its way to social media.

The video above shows the city of Jojutla, Morelos, being shaken violently by the earthquake. Jojutla is located just 70 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter near the city of Puebla.

There is widespread infrastructure damage in the affected areas.

Bridges, metro lines and overpasses have been severely damaged by the quake.

One of the most heartbreaking stories from the catastrophic event is an elementary school in Mexico City that collapsed with children still inside.

Crews were working through the night to save the children still trapped under the rubble. According to The Los Angeles Times, at least 20 children and two adults died when a wing of the school collapsed. The latest report claims that there are still 30 children and eight adults missing from the school. Rescue workers lift their arms –  a sign they use to ask for silence –  to try and hear for voices beneath the rubble.

“Children are often the most vulnerable in emergencies such as this and we are particularly concerned because schools across the region were in session and filled with students,” Jorge Vidal, director of operations at Save the Children in Mexico, told ABC News.

There have been some moments of hope: Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera announced the rescue of 52 people.

The 52 people were saved from one building. As of now, there are reports that 38 buildings collapsed in the densely populated capital city.

In the wake of the earthquake, residents of Mexico City have banded together as they start the long road to recovery.

People have spent time digging through debris to save every person and pet they come across.

A group of teachers sang to keep children calm after the city was shaken.

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And volunteers have flooded every possible site to help remove debris and people from collapsed structures.

The recovery process has just begun in Mexico City but it appears that progress is already being made.

Mexico’s professional fútbol league, Liga MX, canceled all its matches this weekend so its stadiums could be used for relief efforts.

According to ESPN’s Tom Marshall, several stadiums throughout Mexico are being used as collection points for supplies and food that will be distributed to those affected by the earthquake.

If you are interested in helping those who have been affected by the earthquake, there are several ways to help. Here is a short list of organizations you can reach out to:

UNICEF Mexico: UNICEF has long been an organization that helps to protect and support children all over the world, especially in times of crisis and disaster.

Mexico Earthquake Relief Fund by GlobalGiving: GlobalGiving has helped raise more than $270 million since 2002 and vets all donation drives to ensure that they are legitimate and work for the cause they claim.

Red Cross Mexico: The Red Cross helps to provide supplies and shelter to those in need after a natural disaster.

Project Paz: Project Paz has a donation page set up where you can donate to help victims of either the Sept. 7 Oaxaca/Chiapas earthquake or the Sept. 19 Mexico City earthquake.

Los Topos: Los Topos is a rescue brigade that was formed after the 1985 Mexico City earthquake that devastated the city and are willing to step up again anytime a disaster hit’s Mexico’s capital. Donations are accepted via PayPal by sending to donativos@brigada-rescate-topos.org.


READ: Buildings Collapse And More Than 70 Dead After Mexico City Is Hit By Major Earthquake

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This Teacher Received A Nissan Pickup Truck Decked Out As A Mobile Classroom

Things That Matter

This Teacher Received A Nissan Pickup Truck Decked Out As A Mobile Classroom

Like students around the world, kids in Mexico have been forced to take school online or tune into programming on public TV in order to learn. But that’s just the kids who are lucky enough to have access to Internet or a TV. Many students live in rural areas and lack the adequate resources to continue their studies amid the global pandemic.

But thankfully, there are many good samaritans out there (aka compassionate teachers) who have invented their own ways to bring the classroom to kids wherever they are.

A Mexican teacher was gifted a decked out pickup truck by Nissan.

Since schools were forced to close last year in April, Aguascalientes special education teacher Nallely Esparza Flores, has been driving four hours a day to educate students one-on-one at their homes from her truck bed, outfitted with a small table and chairs.

News of her project spread across social media, eventually reaching the corporate offices of Nissan México. This week, the company surprised Esparza with the gift of a new pickup truck specially outfitted with a small open-air mobile classroom built into the truck’s bed.

“Today I feel like my labors and the help that we give each day to children and their families is unstoppable,” she said on Twitter Wednesday, sharing photos of her new vehicle. “My students no longer have to take classes in the full heat of the sun,” she said.

Nissan representatives said they decided to give Esparza the adapted NP300 model, 4-cylinder truck after hearing her story because she was “an example of perseverance and empathy.”

“When we learned about the incredible work of this teacher, we got together to discuss in what way we could contribute to this noble work,” said Armando Ávila, a vice president of manufacturing.

The mobile classroom is pretty legit and will allow Esparza to continue her good deed.

Esparza inside her new classroom.

The decked out Nissan pickup truck has three walls (the other is a retractable sheeting) and a ceiling made with translucent panels to protect teacher and student from the elements while letting in natural light.

It also has retractable steps for easy access to the classroom, electrical connections, a whiteboard and an easily disinfected acrylic table and benches that are foldable into the wall to provide space. The table also has a built-in plexiglass barrier to allow social distancing.

Access to education in Mexico is highly inequitable.

Esparza, like many teachers across the country, found that not all distance learning was equal. Many of her students in Cavillo were from poor families without internet access. So she used social media networks to keep in touch with such students via cell phones, but even that was not necessarily an available option for all — and not ideal. Finally, she decided to solve the problem by hitting the road in her pickup truck.

According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), only 58% of students in Mexico had a home computer – the lowest percentage among all OECD countries. And only about one third (32%) of the school computers in rural schools in Mexico were connected to
the Internet, compared to more than 90% for schools located in urban areas.

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Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

Things That Matter

Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

Sen. Ted Cruz has faced a series of outrages since being accused of helping to incite the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The latest problem plaguing Sen. Cruz is his trip to Mexico while his constituents in Texas freeze during an extreme weather event.

Sen. Ted Cruz was caught boarding a flight to Mexico as Texans are left freezing.

Texas is being slammed with a historic extreme winter weather storm. Hundreds of thousands of Texans are without power for the fifth day in a row while the senator from Texas was heading off to Cancun. Critics are angered that Sen. Cruz would leave the state while his constituents are forced to boil water to survive one of the worst winter storms on record.

Politicians are calling Sen. Cruz out for leaving his constituents during a natural disaster.

The Castro brothers are speaking up as well. Texans are dying from the extreme weather after the power grid was overloaded from sudden demand. The power outages have lasted for multiple days and the death toll continues to climb from the freezing temperatures. So far, 24 people have died from the winter storm.

Part of the problem is that Texas has their own power grid separated from the rest of the nation in an attempt to avoid federal regulations. The decision was made in the 1930s after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed the Federal Power Act. This allowed the federal government to oversee interstate electricity sales. However, Texas utilities did not cross state lines. This created an electricity island.

People are not letting the trip go unnoticed.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is responsible for overseeing the power grid and officials had a grim revelation about the power outages. On Tuesday, ERCOT CEO Bill Magness addressed the media about the power outages.

“We needed to step in and make sure that we were not going to end up with Texas in a blackout, which could keep folks without power — not just some people without power but everyone in our region without power — for much, much longer than we believe this event is going to last, as long and as difficult as this event is right now,” Magness said about the call to cut power to some customers as the icy conditions settled in on the area.

He further explained that some of the power outages could last for an undetermined amount of time.

This is not the first time Texas had weather-induced power outages because of winter weather. The state saw the same situation on a smaller scale play out in 2011. The winter storm in 2011 knocked out power across the state and yet Texas officials did not follow suggestions to prevent the current crisis.

A report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation called on Texas to “winterize” their energy infrastructure. The report highlights how the current infrastructure was not ready to take on the weather it experienced in 2011 and, according to The Texas Tribune, Texas didn’t heed the warning.

On Tuesday, 60 percent of Houston businesses and households remained without power because of the weather.

Sen. Cruz quickly booked a return flight to Houston after the outrage.

Facing mounting anger over his warm escape from Texas, Sen Cruz quickly U-turned back to Houston. He claims to have been accompanying his daughters to Mexico and not going on the vacation himself.

A flurry of tweets about the situation show a growing number of people who are skeptical of the senator’s statement. Ted Cruz was photographed with luggage both in Texas and coming back through the Cancun airport. The luggage has set off a debate about whether or not Sen. Cruz honestly went to Mexico to drop his daughters.

READ: Sen. Joe Manchin Calls On Senate To Expel Sen. Ted Cruz After Insurrection

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