Rural Oaxaca Earthquake Relief

UPDATE: A new 6.1 quake hit this morning (the 23rd). More deaths in Oaxaca when partially damaged buildings collapsed.  This is one of 4,000 aftershocks since the 8.1 quake on the 7th.


A couple of weeks before the 7.1 earthquake rocked Mexico City, a 8.1 quake hit Oaxaca killing over 100 people. I have a dear friend named Carlos who lives there with his wife and kids in a small rural town called San Pedro Amuzgos.  It's pretty remote.  It took over two weeks just for them get communication service back. The quake was on the 7th and I literally just got in contact with him today, the 21st.  To compound matters, they also had the remnants of Hurricane Max roll through last week.

The town is in tough shape. Seems like food and water needs are under control and now shelter is the main issue, a ton of damaged homes and schools.  Aftershocks mean it's a bit dangerous for the people to shelter in their half-destroyed homes. This is a part of the world where even in the best of times, just making ends meet is tough. Now things are impossible. The government has been offering limited help in the Oaxacan cities but in the countryside, they've pretty much been on their own. With the big quake yesterday in the DF and the massive needs there,  the Oaxacan countryside will no doubt be left to completely fend for themselves.

That's where we come in.  

Since my personal financial resources can only have a limited impact I figured the very best way I can help is to reach out to a broader circle, raise a few bucks and get it directly into the hands of people who need it to rebuild their lives.

This is personal. I've known Carlos for 20 years.  He as good person as I've ever met, incredibly hardworking and generous. When I sent Xmas gifts to the kids a few years back, his wife reciprocated with a couple of hand embroidered shirts for me as well as hand embroidered dresses for my daughter that must have taken weeks of work. People without a lot of financial resources that are generous and give in the ways that they can ... for me, that's the very best in human nature.

I've sent money to other's Go Fund Me campaigns in the past but have never done one myself.  Since the need is immediate, I'm kind of building the plane as I'm flying so bear with me as things evolve.

Here's where we start.

The walls, roof and floor to Carlos' house are damaged. With aftershocks, Carlos' wife and kids are afraid to sleep in the house so are sleeping on the porch. 

The immediate short-term plan is to fund the repair of Carlos' house. If we raise enough, we'll expand out and help Carlos' neighbors too. In Mexico, there is no FEMA-like support for people displaced by disaster, no trailers or hotel vouchers for temporary shelter, no low-interest loans to rebuild. It's bootstrap recovery.

If you want to be able to offer direct immediate help to the people in San Pedro Amuzgos, starting with Carlos this is the campaign for you. It's not some abstract help in general.  You'll be able to point an individual and say "I helped that guy buy some roofing material so he could rebuild his house." 

We will document where the money is going and update this page as things progress. The plan is to show pictures (and maybe video) of what we're making happen.

Granted this is just helping a few people in one small town but there's a sappy old parable I love.  

One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.

The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”

Go big if you can, but even a little will go a long way. Every contribution helps.

411 about me: I'm Nick and I'm a documentary filmmaker from Southern California. I first visited Mexico as a kid over 45 years ago and have been back countless times since. Living in Southern California I grew up with a love and appreciation of the people, food, history, and culture of our neighbors to the South.
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Nick Nordquist 
Carlsbad, CA
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