Mexico earthquake 2017 saw victims without aid amid accusations of corruption

Lights flash as massive earthquake hits Mexico

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The central American country was hit by a 7.0 magnitude quake late on Tuesday, which caused widespread shaking. One person is reported to have died and some 1.6 million Mexicans were left without power. The tremor struck around seven miles southwest of Acapulco just before 9 pm local time, according to the United States Geological Survey. As many as 92 aftershocks were also registered by Mexico’s National Seismological Service.

Some local damage has been reported, including lamp posts falling and windows being smashed.

Power cuts have hit Mexico City and the states of Edomex, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Morelos, the Federal Electricity Commission said.

Earthquakes are a known hazard in Mexico, given its position near the edge of the North American tectonic plate.

In 1985 an 8.0 magnitude quake killed around 9,500 people in the wider Mexico City region.

Two major earthquakes also struck in September 2017, including an 8.2 magnitude event, which was the worst quake in Mexico in a century.

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The destruction wreaked by the tremor killed almost 100 people and damaged tens of thousands of homes.

The southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas were hit hardest by the earthquake.

Just 11 days later Mexico was smashed by another 7.1 magnitude earthquake, which left more than 200 people dead.

Many Juchitán residents complained about the slow pace of assistance.

Jesus Ramirez, 27, told Reuters: “We don’t have food or water, we’re desperate.

“We’re trying to eat whatever we can find, any kind of food.”

Much of the city and its surroundings had no running water, and piles of rubble were  restricting access to streets.

Electricity was returning, but residents felt officials were slow to conduct house-by-house damage assessments.

Alfredo Jimenez, a 19-year-old engineering student, said he and neighbours came together to help their neighbours as they did not feel able to rely on the government.

He said: “We see government people passing by, the army and the marines, but they haven’t offered us anything.”

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Domestic worker Margarita Lopez, 56, lined up for assistance in one neighbourhood where nearly every house was severely damaged.

She said: “Almost nothing has arrived from the government and we don’t know what else we can do.”

After the first of the two earthquakes, The New York Times spoke to residents, whose distrust in the government meant they suspected that aid might be diverted away from those who really need it.

Concepción Rueda Gomes, whose hometown Juchitán in Oaxaca was affected, suggested she would distribute aid privately because of her concerns.

The jewellery designer spoke against a backdrop of several corruption scandals and the start of the Mexican general election campaign.

She said: “There was no way I was going to give away the help we raised to some local official or leader so he can just hand them out to his friends and family.

“This is an election season and there will be many politicians looking to advance their career.

“And they see this tragedy as a great opportunity for exposure.”

The Mexican army had been handing out aid in Oaxaca, but the help was slow to reach many of those affected.
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