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Quake brings back memories of 1985 for Mexican expats in UAE

Mexican embassy in active contact with community in UAE, says ambassador

Gulf News

Dubai: Mexican expatriates in Dubai said they were reliving the horror of the earthquake that almost flattened their capital 32 years ago when a powerful quake struck their city again on Tuesday.

A magnitude 7.1 quake toppled dozens of buildings in Mexico City on Tuesday, the same day three decades ago when a 8.1-magnitude earthquake killed almost 10,000 people in the Mexican capital.

The quake is the second in less than two weeks to hit the country. Mexican authorities pegged the death toll at more than 200 and it’s projected to increase further.

Watching the devastation from Dubai, Angel Monroy, a Mexican architect, said it’s as if fate was playing roulette with Mexicans.

“My first reaction was “not again”. It’s a very dark coincidence because yesterday was the anniversary of the 1985 earthquake. That one was very destructive,” Monroy told Gulf News.

“My family is fine fortunately but my sister was in a meeting on the 21st floor when the quake struck and she had to come down using the stairs. As she was on her way down, she could see cracks on the staircase and it was a brand new building. If the quake had been stronger, I don’t know what would have happened.”

Claudia Perez Servin’s family is also safe but the tragic tremors brought painful memories afresh.

“It made us remember that deadly earthquake in 1985. It’s really difficult; it’s overwhelming for us. I was very young then and I was just in school. My mother and I felt the earthquake. When we arrived home, we saw the news and the destruction. It was really a nightmare. The same thing is happening now,” Servin, a freelancer, told Gulf News.

Servin said her husband’s sister, who lives in Puebla, the earthquake’s epicentre, is also safe.

Carla Sarabia De Poncin, another Mexican resident, said she grieves because she is halfway across the globe and cannot offer help.

“When you want to help so much but you’re not there, it’s frustrating,” De Poncin said, choking back the tears.

“A lot of people just reposted videos, but they’re not doing much. I am encouraging people I know to donate to the Mexican Red Cross and for those who can lend a hand, literally, to please do so. Some children are still trapped and every hour they lose hope of finding them alive. If they’re living nearby, please provide bottled water or face masks to rescuers. Any kind of help will do.”

Haydee Perez, a Mexican tour guide, said the quake spared her family but it definitely brought city life to a halt.

“My cousin’s office building was affected and she can’t go to work until they get a clearance from the civil defence. My aunt was in her department and because she has an illness that triggers dizziness very easily, she was sick and was not able to go out or even ask for help. But is fine now.”