Mexico Earthquake Relief

Posted on September 12, 2017

CharityWatch announces a list of highly efficient and accountable charities involved in efforts to provide emergency relief and humanitarian assistance to earthquake victims in Mexico.

The most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in 85 years has left at least 96 people dead. It registered 8.1 in magnitude and struck off the country's southern Pacific coast just before midnight on September 7th. The southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas were hit hard. About 5,000 homes in Chiapas were completely destroyed, and about 11,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed in Oaxaca. In the capital of Mexico City, windows were broken at the airport and power was lost in several neighborhoods. Monday, September 11th marked the first day without aftershocks, of which more than 1,000 had been reported.

Now also dealing with the aftermath of hurricane Katia, which struck the east coast of Mexico as a Category 1 storm on September 9th, killing at least two people, the Mexican government felt it necessary to withdraw its offer to help the victims of hurricane Harvey in Texas as the need for disaster aid in their own country will be significant. Relief efforts are underway for the 2.5 million people affected by this deadly earthquake.

September 20, 2017 Update:

Less than two weeks after the devastating 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, a second earthquake ripped through central Mexico on September 19th, collapsing buildings and killing over 300 people nationwide. The 7.1 magnitude quake was felt most strongly in and around the country’s capital, Mexico City, located within 60 miles of the earthquake’s epicenter.

Schools across parts of central Mexico were closed after the quake, and patients have been evacuated from damaged hospitals. Local media were reporting damaged highways and at least one expressway bridge collapse on the route connecting Mexico City to Acapulco. The Mexico City airport suspended operations until the damage to its infrastructure could be assessed.

This month’s second deadly quake struck on the anniversary date of the one in 1985 that demolished large sections of Mexico City and left at least 6,000 dead in its wake. Mexico City held its annual earthquake drill just hours before the 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit, causing confusion among residents who thought that the seismic alarms for the quake were another drill. Mexico has a long history of deadly earthquakes as the country sits on top of three of the largest tectonic plates on Earth.

The Related Charities listed below perform favorably in relation to CharityWatch benchmarks:
1) A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program services.
2) A charity should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.

Contact your favorite charities to find out if they provide the specific types of aid that you would like to fund, e.g., emergency shelters, food and water, health care, psychological trauma counseling, etc.

As with any charitable contribution, Americans wanting to help with disaster relief efforts should only give to legitimate charities with an established track record of helping people in need.

People need to be on guard concerning the surge of solicitations related to any highly publicized crisis. There will be fraudulent charity solicitations, some involving websites and email links attempting to steal your credit card information for identity theft or insert malware on your computer.

Social media may include fake victims. Do not donate to unknown individuals or organizations that purport to need aid that post on Facebook, GoFundMe, Generosity by Indiegogo, YouCaring, etc. These may be fraudsters, and even if they are legitimate, they may receive an unfairly large amount of aid. (For more related to crowdfunding sites, see CharityWatch's article: Crowdfunding Popularity Continues to Soar Despite Risks to Donors.)

The best way to help is by sending a check. Cash donations enable charities to buy the most needed types of food, medicine, clothing, shelter materials and other supplies. By buying relief products locally or regionally, charities can reduce shipping costs and more rapidly deliver assistance. Before sending any goods, first contact the charity to find out if they are appropriate and if it will be cost effective to distribute them. For example, after a tsunami in the Pacific, boxes of donated winter coats, scarves and fuzzy hats, completely useless items in tsunami-stricken nations with tropical climates, were sent to these nations.

CharityWatch identifies the following Top-Rated charities, which are providing relief to Mexico earthquake victims and receive an “A” or “B+” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency. Top-Rated charities also must meet CharityWatch's Governance and Transparency benchmarks. Contact the organizations below for information on specific relief operations now underway.

Related Charities

All Hands and Hearts - Smart ResponseA+
American Jewish Joint Distribution CommitteeA
American Red CrossB+
Catholic Relief ServicesA+
Direct Relief & Direct Relief FoundationA
Doctors Without Borders USAA
International Medical CorpsA
MAP InternationalB+
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.A-
Mercy CorpsA
Operation USAA-
Partners In HealthA+
Save the ChildrenA-
United States Fund for UNICEFA
World VisionA-

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