On September 7 at 11:49 pm local time, an 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Chiapas State in southern Mexico, near the border with Guatemala. The earthquake damaged buildings and killed at least 34 people, and has so far generated a tsunami and 12 powerful aftershocks. International Medical Corps is preparing to respond and is ready to support the Government of Mexico to provide lifesaving medical care and relief as needed.
The earthquake's violent tremors caused widespread damage to buildings, roads and other infrastructure across Mexico. The states of Chiapas and Oaxaca were most affected, being closest to the earthquake's epicenter. They are also two of Mexico's poorest states. Many of these citizens lacked healthcare, clean water, and electricity prior to the earthquake and are now at even higher risk for the spread of disease. Many are still trapped under building rubble, so the death toll is expected to rise.
International Medical Corps' disaster response experts are prepared to deploy if the Government of Mexico requests assistance. We have also offered support to our NGO and corporate partners. Once activated, our teams may use mobile medical units to reach areas with limited access to health services, prevent disease by ensuring access to clean water, and distribute urgently needed medication and supplies.
While immediate needs will be addressed first, our focus on self-reliance in tandem with relief efforts will ensure that a lasting impact is made in the region. A pre-eminent first responder for more than three decades, International Medical Corps has extensive experience providing medical care and other lifesaving relief in the aftermath of disasters, including Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, and Hurricane Matthew in Haiti in 2016.