Ireland’s Mexican expats seek to raise money for quake survivors

With death toll nearing 300 on Friday night, community looks to encourage donations

 

Members of Ireland’s Mexican community have launched a drive to help raise funds for those recovering from this week’s earthquake.

The country is still coming to terms with the damage inflicted by Tuesday’s 7.1-magnitude quake that laid waste to much of its centre, including Mexico City, the capital.

With the death toll approaching 300 on Friday night, some of Ireland’s estimated 2,000 Mexicans, many of them students, began efforts to encourage donations and to explore the possibility of directly collecting money to send home.

“We are a small community but we are close,” said Karla Zavala who, like most of those gathering in Dublin on Friday night, is from Mexico City.

Traditional clothing

The expats, determined to do what they can from thousands of kilometres across the Atlantic, met in Temple Bar, dressed in traditional clothing, sombreros and national football jerseys, hoping to pique people’s interest in their cause.

Zavala’s parents and two sisters, as well as extended family, were unhurt in the earthquake, but like the others she is acutely aware of the toll it has taken there.

“It was very hard at the beginning. Obviously the internet wasn’t working properly and that was the most difficult part because it’s so far [away] and you couldn’t reach Mexico in one day,” she said.

‘Lost everything’

“We know people who have lost everything, people who are so close to us. That is why we are trying to help these people.”

Many of those now keen to do their part in Dublin were survivors of the 1985 earthquake which killed thousands and levelled the capital.

They first met at Dublin’s Spire on Wednesday in an impromptu effort to rally together. However, without permission to raise money themselves, their efforts are limited to raising awareness and appealing to people to donate either to the Red Cross appeal or via online crowdfunding.

The group, which is organising on the Mexicanos@Dublin Facebook page, hopes to obtain a street performance permit to raise money as an initial step.

Another of the organisers, Hiram Sanchez, said his family were safe as they lived in the north of Mexico City, which was not as badly hit as the south.

“When the earthquake [struck] everyone went out of the house to a safe point until the army went there and said it was safe,” he said.

The group is planning to hold a series of events to promote crowdfunding efforts. Details can be found on their Facebook page.