On 19 September, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck central and southern Mexico, killing 369 people. It struck on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 quake that killed as many as 10,000 people, and came less than two weeks after the most powerful earthquake in the country in a century, an 8.1 magnitude quake that killed at least 90 people, destroyed thousands of homes and was felt by millions of people. Twenty USAR teams were involved in the response, nine of which were international teams from Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Panama, Spain and the United States. The Japanese, Spanish and US teams are INSARAG-classified heavy USAR teams.

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Credit: Lourdes Ardon/UNDAC

OCHA’s Field Coordination Support Section, in close consultation with the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Coordinated Response Division, deployed a six-person UNDAC team to accompany the national authorities, observe the response and advise on aspects of humanitarian assessments, information management and USAR coordination. It was joined by three structural engineers from the European Union Civil Protection system. At the end of the two-week mission, the team presented a set of observations and considerations to the authorities with the view of further strengthening national response capacity.

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Credit: Lourdes Ardon/UNDAC