The Salvation Army responds to Mexico City earthquake

The 7.1-magnitude earthquake of Sept. 19 caused the collapse of buildings and other infrastructure in and around Mexico City. The epicenter was on the border between the states of Puebla and Morelos, around 75 miles from the Mexican capital. Colonel Ricardo Bouzigues, Territorial Commander for The Salvation Army in Mexico, reports “tremendous damage,” and more than 200 people are known to have lost their lives, including at least 26 children who died when their school collapsed.

Salvation Army facilities were affected, and all territorial headquarters officers and cadets of the School for Officer Training were evacuated because of structural damage to buildings. Nevertheless, The Salvation Army is assisting communities most severely affected by the disaster and a needs assessment is underway.

The Salvation Army Irma Arellano Children’s Home in Mexico City was largely undamaged by the earthquake and has become a hub for The Salvation Army’s response. Officers, staff and volunteers have all been involved in the immediate response, with some of the resident children participating in preparing sandwiches and other food packages for first responders, rescue teams and people who had to leave their homes.

Headquarters and some corps buildings across the Mexico City metro area are being used as collection centers to receive donations such as food, water and blankets for subsequent distribution.

Photos and video of the immediate reaction to the earthquake are available at  

This latest emergency response comes while three teams of Salvation Army officers and volunteers continue emergency disaster relief after the Sept. 7 earthquake in Oaxaca and following the landfall of Hurricane Katia in Veracruz. This means that additional Salvation Army canteens, supplies and personnel are being sought from the U.S. The Salvation Army International Emergency Services team—based at International Headquarters in London—is also poised for immediate deployment.

In Oaxaca, The Salvation Army’s emergency response is centered on the city of Juchitán, on the Chiapas coast and 62 miles from the epicenter of the earlier 8.1-magnitude quake. Two emergency canteens were mobilized to serve approximately 5,000 people. The majority of these people became instantly homeless when their houses collapsed.

The Salvation Army continues to support affected individuals and families, in cooperation with the government and partner agencies.

Meanwhile, in Veracruz a mobile canteen and two vans stocked with food, groceries and clothing were deployed in response to Hurricane Katia. Around 2,000 people are currently being supported with emergency feeding programs, and emotional and spiritual counseling.

IHQ Communications

From reports by International Emergency Services and Mexico Territory

Donations to support The Salvation Army’s disaster response in Mexico can be made online at

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