Civil Society Rises to Confront Disasters

As the Mexican earthquake becomes the latest natural disaster to hit the Western Hemisphere, the role of civil society — especially the first responders — has demonstrated the best of human nature, as Dennis J Bernstein reports.

By Dennis J Bernstein

On Thursday, rescuers in Mexico City continued to dig through the rubble of many downed buildings, attempting to pull survivors out of the wreckage from the deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked the city on two days earlier.

Building partially collapsed by the earthquake of September 19, 2017 in Mexico City — Colonia Narvarte Poniente, Delegation Benito Juárez, Mexico City. (Wikipedia)

Scores of survivors have already been pulled out of the rubble of various disaster sites all over the sprawling city. The quake has taken the lives of over 230 people with thousands more injured.

First responders and volunteers dug through the rubble of a collapsed school in the southern part of the city for children buried in the fallen books and bricks. Reuters reported early Thursday that “eleven other children were rescued from the Enrique Rebsamen School, where students are aged roughly six to 15. Twenty-one children and four adults there were killed.”

I spoke to Flashpoints Special Correspondent Molly Goss in Mexico City about the impact of the quake and the special role civil society has played and is playing in the rescue and recovery efforts. Goss herself was trapped in a building after the quake but managed to escape with co-workers. I spoke to Goss on September 20.

Dennis Bernstein: Molly, you yourself were trapped in a building after the quake. Essentially you were stuck inside a building and couldn’t get out. We are glad you are safe now.

You were saying earlier that the quake came only hours after the whole city had done drills and a remembrance of the massive 1985 earthquake that killed thousands of Mexicans.

Molly Goss: It was incredible, because two hours earlier we had done the drills that are performed every September 19, here in Mexico City, to commemorate what happened in 1985. We were able to get out of the building fine during the drill but later the door jammed and prevented us…

Read more