Mexico Earthquakes: Fast Facts

Hundreds of people were killed when two earthquakes struck Mexico, just days apart. Get answers to your frequently asked questions about the disasters and how you can help.


Q: Where and when did the earthquakes hit?

A: A strong 7.1M earthquake struck Mexico City and surrounding states, including Morelos and Puebla, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Earlier, on Sept. 7, an 8.1M quake hit Oaxaca, Mexico.

Q: What impact did the earthquakes have?

A: Hundreds of people lost their lives, and homes, schools, and community buildings have been destroyed. Emergency responders spent days trying to rescue people buried under rubble.

Q: What can I do to help?

A: You can make a donation to GlobalGiving’s Mexico Earthquake Relief Fund, start your own fundraiser for survivors, and/or share news about our earthquake fund with your friends and family.

Q: Where does the money from GlobalGiving’s Mexico Earthquake Relief Fund go?

A: All donations to this fund will support earthquake relief and recovery efforts in Mexico. The fund will help first responders meet survivors’ immediate needs, including the provision of shelter, medical care, food, and clean water. Once initial relief work is complete, this fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by vetted, local organizations.

Q: What’s GlobalGiving’s history in the impacted areas?

A: GlobalGiving has longstanding relationships with several partners in Mexico who are responding to the earthquakes. Our regional partners, including Global Vision International Charitable Trust, International Community Foundation, IsraAID, and Cooperacion Comunitaria A.C., already have relationships and structures in place in the affected communities. Learn more about our responding partners here.

Q: How do you choose which nonprofits to support through the fund?

A: We support organizations that GlobalGiving has established relationships with in the disaster-affected region. In special cases, we also reach out to reputable, local organizations that are not yet in the GlobalGiving network to ensure our donors’ funds are addressing as many urgent and long-term needs as possible. In these special cases, all organizations still go through GlobalGiving’s extensive vetting process, as well as additional review of their disaster response work, and we trust selected organizations to make the best decisions on the ground.

Q: Why do donors turn to GlobalGiving after natural disasters?

A: For donors, GlobalGiving provides a way to help quickly and effectively without having to do a lot of research. Donors can support both immediate relief and long-term recovery with donations to the Mexico Earthquake Relief Fund. Every NGO that receives funds must commit to sending reports to donors at least quarterly, and we typically conduct site visits to check on the work being done. Donors can subscribe to receive updates from the NGO and from our site visits, so they can track their money and see what has been accomplished. An NGO itself, GlobalGiving also works to help companies give to the relief projects that are important to donors. Many companies use GlobalGiving to track and match employee donations to disaster relief efforts, amplifying employee impact and driving further support directly where it’s needed. If you are working on Maria relief on behalf of a company or foundation, you may be interested in this summary of our disaster response services, as well as our new research on disaster philanthropy best practices.

Q: GlobalGiving has a locally driven approach to disaster recovery. Why?

A: Generally, we believe local organizations are best positioned to assess and to respond to needs in the long term, so we listen carefully to what local organizations deem to be most critical. Our view is that locally run organizations can nimbly and effectively provide for immediate and ongoing community needs. Getting funds to them benefits communities directly and quickly. You can learn more about our approach in this article on our website.

Q: How will you keep me updated about how my donation is used?

A: Immediately after a disaster, we submit reports every few weeks describing the efforts that are being supported through the fund, detailing which organizations are receiving funds. As time goes on, we’ll share specific stories, photos, and videos from the efforts.

Q: How long will it take for my money to get to survivors?

A: We’ll make disbursements from the fund as soon as possible, which means your donation could be on the ground in a bank account in 7 days or less. (This is rare for most organizations that aggregate funds as we do!) As the work turns into a long-term recovery effort, we’ll disburse funds on a monthly basis.

Q: How do I know I can trust my donation to GlobalGiving?

A: GlobalGiving is a top-rated (4-star) charity on Charity Navigator. We are also accredited by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. Many major news outlets, including The New York Times and NPR have recommended GlobalGiving’s disaster relief funds. If at any time you’re not happy with how your funds have been used, we also offer the GlobalGiving Guarantee.

Q: I saw that there is a fee on donations through GlobalGiving. Can you explain that fee?

A: GlobalGiving, a nonprofit, charges a 5-12% fee on most donations, plus a 3% payment processing fee. GlobalGiving will retain a 12% nonprofit support fee and 3% payment processing fee for donations to this fund. Here’s how the nonprofit support fee breaks down: 2% goes to the administrative costs of running GlobalGiving, and the rest of the fee (10%) goes to work like identifying, vetting, and supporting organizations—most of which are local organizations. We also have a team that will work to mobilize corporate, institutional, and individual donations to these groups (many are too busy or small to have the time or connections to do this on their own). Our ability to drive further support from companies turns the GlobalGiving fee into an investment that pays off for local groups on the ground. Last year alone, GlobalGiving drove an additional $10 million to its partners, amplifying their impact in communities around the world.

Q: Can I donate goods, such as bottled water or medical supplies, through GlobalGiving to support relief efforts?

A: Thank you very much for your desire to give what you have in order to help survivors in Mexico. GlobalGiving does not have the capacity to collect in-kind donations on behalf of our nonprofit partners. Along with the Center for International Disaster Information, we recommend that individuals give cash, rather than in-kind donations, after disasters. Through cash contributions, relief organizations can do more good for more people, with greater speed and sensitivity than with unrequested material donations. Cash donations provide medical and other life-saving services now, and rebuild infrastructure later. This interesting infographic helps explain why sending material goods, despite the good intentions, can be costly and sometimes harmful. If you are with a company looking to donate in-kind supplies in bulk, visit

Q: How can I spread the word about urgent needs in Mexico?

A: Please share our social media posts with your friends and family:


Featured Banner Photo: Emergency earthquake response in Mexico. Photo by IsraAID.

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