Earthquake Started in Indigenous Regions of Mexico


The epicenter of the 7.4 magnitude earthquake that rumbled through Mexico on March 20 was in the heavily indigenous regions of Oaxaca and Guerrero. As a result of the significant damages to many cities and towns, Oaxaca Governor Gabino Cué Monteagudo stated on Thursday that he would seek emergency disaster relief from the federal government.

After visiting many of the affected areas Governor Monteagudo met with local officials from 25 municipalities on March 22.

"We have 72 hours to send in the application and then possibly have access to the resources of Fonden (National Disaster Fund),” Monteagudo stated. “Due to that we are verifying the damages to each community, because we have to do this in a very responsable way because at the end of the day these are public funds that Oaxaca has to invest and it has to be done in a clear and transparent manner.”

The Oaxaca governor also said that state officials would set up technical committtees in each of the 25 affected municipalities to gather more precise information on the degree of damages caused by the earthquake and to then proceed to careful reconstruction efforts.

It was also reported that most schools in Oaxaca, Guerrero and Mexico City had canceled classes for the week. Guerrero officials also noted that their region was spared from too much damage.

Guerrero Governor Angel Aguirre noted that only two towns registered any significant structural damages, including fences. He also stated that they would be setting up shelters for that contingency.

“No deaths have been reported, no loss of human life, no reports of injuries, a lot of panic,” Governor Aguirre stated.

Throughout central and southwestern Mexico the quake broke apart bridges, roads and old colonial buildings in the regions but did not, as of press time, result in any deaths.

The earthquake started at 12:02 p.m. on Tuesday and within minutes had destroyed thousands of homes, roads, bridges and other structures in the southern and central parts of the country according to Mexican authorities. This most recent quake affected at least 25 municipalities, with at least niner people listed as hurt and many thousands who were evacuated from office buildings, schools and other facilities.

The exact center of the earthquake was pinpointed as being 52 kilometers from Ometepec, Guerrero and about 53 kilometers from the town of Tiaxiaco, Oaxaca in the southwestern corner of the country bordering the Pacific Ocean. The Guerrero region is home to 530,000 Indigenous Peoples that include Nahuatls, Mixtecas, Tlapencos and Amuzgos. The famous Oaxaca region has close to two million Indigenous Peoples who come from at least 16 different ethnicities.

While this recent earthquake was much smaller than the last major disturbance in 1986, where the 8.0 quake killed 10,000 people and caused more damages, officials credit new construction methods and a well-functioning alert system that prevented further injuries and loss of human life.