Mexico City earthquake of 1985. Responses from the Mexican community and foreign governments came swiftly. They were perturbed at the Ambassador’s estimate for some reason, but I am convinced the real total was closer to his estimate. “Here come the Americans to blow up our Mexican buildings.” Would it work? Assistance was just not flowing and not flowing fast enough, and people were without electricity and they were without water and they were without homes, and they began for the first time to organize themselves, in neighborhood groups and community groups, to do something about this. He got a helicopter and he flew over and counted the number of buildings down, and many of them were apartment buildings. Then I took Gavin through some of these neighborhoods. Ultimately, most of the exchanges were badly damaged or destroyed. John Gavin’s nomination by the President caused consternation and some disdain in the Mexican press and the public because he was identified as an actor. Most of Alaska’s mainland felt the magnitude 9.2 earthquake, which wobbled Seattle’s Space Needle some 1,200 miles ...read more, Mexico City, Mexico’s largest city and the most populous metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere, is also known as Distrito Federal, or the federal district. The first thing, the highest priority, was to determine that all of the Embassy people were safe, that all official American personnel were safe. One of the things that was most important were inflatable bladders for water. On the other hand, on one of the first days, I called a Congressman in Los Angeles and asked him not to send a plane load of supplies, because they were not things that were needed. Tuesday's earthquake took place on the anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985. We also have to remember that there was a major aftershock thirty six hours later, about 7 o’clock at night the next day. PASTORINO: No official Americans and just a few American citizens. I had the great honor to cut the ribbon at one project where I went with Henry Cisneros and Bob Krueger because San Antonio, where Cisneros was the Mayor, donated the money to rebuild a school. I got on the phone about 10:00 a.m., when we found out everyone was okay, and tried to call Washington and tell the State Department that the American and Mexican Embassy personnel were unharmed. Financially, we had already offered the Mexicans a variety of technical assistance from sniffer dogs to special jacks and engineering gear to try to rescue people from collapsed buildings. We got on an Air Force I airplane. I went onto the roof and I could see buildings collapsed within two or three blocks. I was in the Embassy in my office at 7:30 in the morning. September 19, 2008 (The earthquake of 19-Sep-1985) One of the worst natural disasters in the Americas occurred 23 years ago today, when at 7:19 am local time an earthquake of magnitude 8.1 struck in the subduction zone off the west coast of Mexico. It was autumn, September. In 1985, Mexico City was the world’s largest urban area. It had a magnitude of 8.1, and the number of people killed added up to 10,000 deaths. This detailed timeline of Mexican history explores such themes as the ...read more, A country rich in history, tradition and culture, Mexico is made up of 31 states and one federal district. As far as we knew, no staff person’s home or structure collapsed and no staff person was hurt badly. The phone system failed almost completely shortly thereafter. But for the most part, American government officials acted with great courage. They would sometimes report his criticisms, but you would sort of lose the train of it before you got done. There was a very large earthquake in September of 1985. Learn how to update your browser. The water system was destroyed in much of the city. Excélsior would probably have 30 stories on the front page. I think that on the second day shipments were already beginning to come in from the States. On the other position. And even when Presidential orders were given, they were sometimes not followed, or could not be followed. What was especially needed was machinery to cut through the concrete reinforcing rods, oxygen, the sniffer dogs to search for survivors, tents, heavy machinery to move some of the rubble, lighting systems, and communications gear. The 8.1-magnitude quake struck Mexico City on Sept. 19, 1985, followed by a 7.5-magnitude aftershock one day later. Soup kitchens were set up by the people to keep the diggers working. It was still peaceful. He had a tendency shared by almost all politically appointed ambassadors, including [Patrick] Lucey at times, to sometimes speak out on Mexican affairs as if they were presidents of Mexico rather than ambassadors to the country. So I don’t know exactly, but we had 25,000 officially registered. The Mexicans were profoundly dilatory about taking us up on our offers of help, and she wasn’t going to solve that problem. He was a cousin of one of the leading writers of Mexico, Carlos Fuentes, who he called Charlie Fountain. I cannot believe that the government actually impeded the rescue efforts that brave civilians had begun. Western Mexico is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes with the Pacific plate and Cocos plate moving against the North American plate actively. The airport runways were thought to be damaged on the first day. In fact, some of the neighborhoods close to it were badly damaged. (You can also read Ambassador Prudence Bushnell’s experience with “disaster tourists” after the Embassy Nairobi bombing. Earthquake shakes Mexico City On September 19, 1985, a powerful earthquake strikes Mexico City and leaves 10,000 people dead, 30,000 injured and thousands more homeless. Officials say at … I let it shake (what else could I do?) We had to take care of them. The powerful earthquake killed more than 10,000 and left another 30,000 others injured and as many as a quarter of a million people homeless. He got the military to get him a helicopter, and he wanted to personally survey the damage in Mexico City, not without reason, again. The president was saying that they had lost 10,000 people, and Gavin made a public statement that there were 20,000 or more who had died. On September 21, 1999, an earthquake in Taiwan killed more than 2,400 people, destroyed or damaged thousands of buildings and left an estimated 100,000 people homeless. 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