Habitat for Humanity: Mexico Earthquake response

by Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity: Mexico Earthquake response
Jun 5, 2019

Final Report: Mexico Earthquake Response


On September 19, 2017, an earthquake of magnitude 7.1 Richter scale occurred with an epicenter in the southeast of Axochiapan, Morelos at 1:14:40 hrs. It was located in the state boundary between the states of Puebla and Morelos, leaving serious damages in the states of Morelos, Puebla, State of Mexico, Tlaxcala, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Veracruz and Mexico City (UN Mexico).

This geographical area is located in a region with high seismic activity, which according to data from the National Seismological Service has increased its frequency in recent years. Particularly in Mexico, vulnerability to seismic events is exacerbated not only by intensity and frequency; but also by the degree of social deprivation that prevails in a large part of the population, which represents greater risk during these events.

In these circumstances, Habitat for Humanity Mexico (HFHM) as an association that promotes housing as an important human right, launches the Reconstruction Program of 1,446 homes in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Puebla, Morelos, and Mexico City. Through this program, more than 45,000 direct and indirect jobs were generated in the affected communities. The main purpose was to get 4,300 people to recover their homes, in addition to promoting a sense of belonging by strengthening the social fabric within the communities.


A Housing comprehensive reconstruction in the Zona Frailesca and the Central Zone of Chiapas affected by earthquakes, through a recovery process to build resilient communities, strengthening community capacities for coordination, planning, management, and monitoring of the earthquakes recovery process.


  • Provide a habitable and durable dwellingto families affected by the earthquakes, providing advice and technical constructive supervision during the process.
  • Strengthen local organizational capacitiesthrough a process of social and educational participation with families affected, in order to organize the reconstruction of housing.

Lessons Learned

  • The work experience allows us to conclude that the design and application of joint work models between and with the beneficiaries is the best way to take advantage of their knowledge and skills. In addition to recognizing the desire of some of them to participate, learn and collaborate in the project, beyond just being recipients of aid.
  • Great learning is planning. We must consider several scenarios (most adverse) and elucidate possible solutions to minimize the impact on delays, both in the constructive part and in the organizational part with the families.
  • In processes of reconstruction, empathy is fundamental, because it helps to recognize the families' needs and generates a more effective communication between them and us, which will be reflected in a more effective support.
  • It is necessary to promote and maintain greater contact and control with suppliers, innovating in forms of collaboration, monitoring, control, and production of the elements that we provide to the beneficiaries.
  • Promote greater integration and collaboration among the beneficiaries, their master builders and our technical team, for better quality in their houses, and thus take advantage of the experience of master masons.
  • Look for an approach with each of the families according to their situation: context, level of affectation, family and economic situation. Also, propose various schedules that address possible delays or difficulties.
  • Understand that families can show or manifest needs that for our vision are not a priority and, nevertheless, express understanding and support for them.
  • To consider important a broad technical participation and a humble and compassionate look for facing disasters, in particular, to adapt to the cultural context and thus be able to share the necessary architectural knowledge to correct future errors.

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Organization Information

Habitat for Humanity International

Location: Americus, GA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Habitat_org
Project Leader:
Jeremy Kraut-Ordover
Americus, GA United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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