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Ambassador Gavin had to go to de La Madrid on some issues in order that we could help effectively. First Lady Nancy Reagan toured Mexico City with U.S. Interested in Recording Your Oral History, Association for Diplomatic Studies & Training. The Administrative Counselor, Doug Watson, a tremendous help and calming influence, came in at 9:00 a.m. and we had to decide what to do. We coordinated with the embassy. Almost always no smoke, no dust, and every brick falls right where it’s supposed to. The 1985 Mexico City earthquake was definitely one of the most devastating natural disasters in history. The most vivid memories of that night were of the Mexican people digging frantically in the piles of rubble, with no lights, no electricity, and no help from the government. These was a great crowd of people milling around. Even if it had not been destroyed, it didn’t have much equipment and expertise. To this day, Embassy people remember that event and the talk I gave. The 1985 Mexico City Earthquake. They were perturbed at the Ambassador’s estimate for some reason, but I am convinced the real total was closer to his estimate. There was one very frightening sight at Plaza de Tlateloco in Mexico City, where a large high-rise apartment building, probably a 15-story building, had just collapsed into a pile of bricks. September 19, 2008 (The earthquake of 19-Sep-1985) One of the worst natural disasters in the Americas occurred 23 years ago today, when at 7:19 am local time an earthquake of magnitude 8.1 struck in the subduction zone off the west coast of Mexico. The control tower operation was down so the airport was closed. Since I’d gone through earthquakes in San Francisco, and the big one in Caracas in our first assignment, I wasn’t scared or nervous. Heavy machinery, medical supplies, and excavation equipment descended into the city to help with rescue efforts. There was no time for an advance visit or anything. A lot of people hadn’t panicked the first day; the aftershock though brought many to the edge of desperation. It was something she very much wanted to do. But for the most part, American government officials acted with great courage. I was lucky in that the phones were still working and I called home and found that my family and the house were unharmed. It had a magnitude of 8.1, and the number of people killed added up to 10,000 deaths. In response, citizens organized their own rescue brigades. I said that the last thing in the world the Mexicans need is the First Lady coming to Mexico right now. Some of these buildings were ready to fall down and they were dangerous. The digging went on amid continuing screams from within the fallen buildings. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. He had a tendency shared by almost all politically appointed ambassadors, including [Patrick] Lucey at times, to sometimes speak out on Mexican affairs as if they were presidents of Mexico rather than ambassadors to the country. The Mexican government, thinking that it could handle the situation after the earthquake by themselves, initially refused any foreign aid. It was still run totally by the PRI. 1985: Mexico suffers devastating earthquake A massive earthquake has hit Mexico not far from its capital, Mexico City, causing untold casualties and widespread damage. By the second day I think it could take airplanes because the runways were indeed not damaged. Making matters worse, on the evening of September 20, a magnitude 7.5 aftershock shook the region. They had left me in charge of the Mission but Washington didn’t know that. The foreign media would always cover these things, and then report it, and then sometimes the Mexican media would be able to report on what the foreign media had presented. At any rate, he counted the number of buildings down and he made two observations to the press as he got off the helicopter. One is that 20,000 people had died, because he counted the number of buildings times what he assumed was the occupancy of each building, and it was clear that most people in those buildings would not survive. The Embassy had ten or twelve other physical facilities around the city. The oil boom was on. Within the next couple hours, we made sure the local Mexican staff was ok. The quake ruptured the San Andreas fault to the north and south of the city, for a total of 296 miles, and ...read more, On October 17, 1989, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit the San Francisco Bay Area, killing 67 people and causing more than $5 billion in damages. Blog. 2017 Puebla earthquake; Images for kids The powerful earthquake killed more than 10,000 and left another 30,000 others injured and as many as a quarter of a million people homeless. AID sent many of them because it was in charge of our disaster relief at that time. Maybe that was because I had been through many earthquakes before, including one just as serious. Problems became serious I think, for Gavin, in 1985, after the great earthquake in Mexico City, at a time that I was already in Ottawa. Most of these people interacted with Mexican lower level government officials and with the Mexican population. It was all got up in a few days as you might imagine right after the earthquake. COWAL:  I think the most controversial thing that he [Ambassador Gavin] did, at least in my time there, happened just before I arrived. HUGHES:  During the brief period that I was on the NSC staff in connection with Mexico, my main activities were planning a trip that Nancy Reagan made to Mexico and accompanying her to give a symbolic donation of a million dollars to the victims of the September 1985 Mexico City earthquake and dealing with a presidential phone call between de la Madrid and Ronald Reagan. (The disaster exposed the fact that government corruption had allowed for lax enforcement of building codes.) However, much of the damage was in Mexico City, which was constructed on an ancient lake bed whose soft sediments amplify seismic waves. We had to worry about the American School, the American Hospital, and other American institutions. Fortunately, the quake was early enough in the morning that people weren’t yet in their offices. The day after the earthquake I was called at the NSC and asked how do you think the Mexicans would react to the First Lady coming to Mexico? In the aftermath of the 1985 earthquake, an early-alert earthquake warning system was established in Mexico City and other safety measures were enacted. From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The 1985 Mexico City Earthquake was an earthquake that happened in Mexico City on September 19, 1985. The 2017 Puebla earthquake struck at 13:14 CDT (18:14 UTC) on 19 September 2017 with an estimated magnitude of M w 7.1 and strong shaking for about 20 seconds. At first, the president rejected offers of international aid and played down the damage caused by the quake. Despite the fact that the disaster was one of the most powerful and destructive quakes ever to hit a populated area of the United States, ...read more, The 1964 Alaska earthquake, the strongest earthquake ever recorded in North America, struck Alaska’s Prince William Sound, about 74 miles southeast of Anchorage. So they wouldn’t just report the facts and then put their editorial opinion on the editorial page, saying he shouldn’t have spoken this way or he didn’t have the facts corrected, it would all be interwoven in the same story. She didn’t mingle with people in the way the Bushes did typically on their airplane. On the other position. It was not totally closed. I remember we let every American, tourist or resident, come to the Embassy and write a one-page telegram. As Mexico City is situated on an ancient lakebed plateau composed of mostly dirt and sand, the ground is less stable than bedrock, thus leading to major damage. 1985-09-19 13:17:47 UTC 8.0 magnitude, 27 km depth Arteaga, Michoacán, Mexico 8.0 magnitude earthquake 1985-09-19 13:17:47 UTC at 13:17 September 19, 1985 UTC As I noted above, the Navy Secretariat, which was in charge of disaster relief, was destroyed on the morning of the quake. I told the Mexican employees they could return home, if they thought it was necessary. To get a better idea about the high stakes treatment. I really got my appreciation for the damage at 11 o’clock that night. We all flew to Mexico in this nearly empty plane spending a lot of hours in the air. I took the stairs down to the lobby, and went across the street to the Sheraton Hotel. Mexico certainly did not plan for earthquakes…. Some of them came from homes that were damaged. More than 80,000 people perished as a result of the quake, while an estimated 4 million ...read more, On April 18, 1906, an earthquake and subsequent fires devastated San Francisco, California, leaving more than 3,000 people dead and destroying more than 28,000 buildings. We had to put thousands of telegrams in a huge sack and have them carried to Laredo to be sent out from there. If she wanted to go to sleep it would have been in view of the elements. As far as we knew, no staff person’s home or structure collapsed and no staff person was hurt badly. He got the military to get him a helicopter, and he wanted to personally survey the damage in Mexico City, not without reason, again. I think it was on Day 3 that Ambassador Gavin sent me to the airport to see if we could get certain goods released. These two guys heard screams and dove in to the flooded basement waters of the severely damaged hotel trying to save drowning hotel guests. That second night I was in the Embassy until 1 or 2 in the morning. We just sent advance teams directly to Mexico to get this set up on about 48-hour’s notice and coordinated with the embassy to work out a schedule which mainly involved the First Lady arriving, going to Los Pinos, meeting with de la Madrid, giving him the check, touring some sites of devastation around the city, meeting with the embassy staff and saying some words with them and then flying on to California. They needed that much space to lay out the corpses. In the aftermath of the earthquake, about 3,500 buildings had collapsed or were seriously damaged. Considerable damage and injuries were reported in other parts of the Umbria region. Actually, that earthquake, and I think perhaps Gavin’s taking a very out-front role and really expressing the damage and so on, the follow up to that by the Mexican citizenry I think really led in some interesting and strange way to the ultimate defeat of the PRI several years later. Though the epicenter for the 1985 earthquake was over 200 miles away from Mexico City, the disaster nearly flattened the capital. Nancy Reagan’s trip was I think her first foray into a foreign policy role. We had dozens of calls and cables coming in from the Consulates, from all over Mexico. The 1985 Mexico City Earthquake was an earthquake that happened in Mexico City on September 19, 1985. Research a process analysis for errors in causal analysis is however the magnitude and type of strategy is required. They had spent a lot of time together as children. On September 19, 1985, at 7:18 in the morning, the residents of Mexico City were jolted awake by an 8.1-magnitude earthquake, one of the strongest to ever hit the area. The water system was destroyed in much of the city. We hurried through the calling because we knew the phone system in Mexico City was progressively failing as the central exchanges were literally falling down. I was one of the few people in the building. In addition, 250,000 people lost their homes, and … It was appropriate to speak publicly about issues relating to our interests, but dangerous to tell Mexicans how to manage their own affairs, at least in public. I went back inside the Embassy and upstairs to my fourth floor office after the twenty minutes like I had planned. He immediately jumped to the conclusion that those were buildings that were probably built not to the standards which were in print, but not always observed, of how buildings ought to be built in a seismic zone. Within a few more hours I learned that this was probably going to happen so we turned to and set up the visit. Many worked most of the first 72 hours straight, either in the Embassy or outside. Yes, it was not the Soviet Union. I remember Dan Rather telling the world that Mexico City was completely destroyed. What the aftershock did was make many people really panic. The event was televised nationwide and in those parts of Mexico City which had electricity. Sally Grooms Cowal I remember many stories about heroism during those next few days. and when it stopped I decided to leave the building, have a cup of coffee for twenty minutes, and then go back to work. Economic and Political Counselor. It did more damage to some of the Embassy’s residences, fortunately, not mine. As the National Security Council’s Staff Director for Latin America from 1985 to 1986, Ambassador G. Philip Hughes was involved in planning First Lady Nancy Reagan’s visit to Mexico City, which he questioned as being ill-timed; he was interviewed by Kennedy beginning August 1997. He got a helicopter and he flew over and counted the number of buildings down, and many of them were apartment buildings. I went onto the roof and I could see buildings collapsed within two or three blocks. The effects of the quake were particularly devastating because of the type of ground upon which the city sits. That was my view. ), Stanley Zuckerman  Minister Counselor for Public Affairs in Mexico City from 1985 to 1989. A study in contrasts in american history study 1985 earthquake mexico city case. A lot of people were saved that night by the digging, survivors being dug out minute by minute. I had been officially appointed by the DCM when he left, to be in charge. On the morning of September 19, 1985, an 8.1-magnitude earthquake hit the western states of Mexico and including Mexico City. I didn’t think that was very strange. Ambassador Gavin was taken up in a helicopter the day after the quake to survey the damage in order to get a sense of the assistance that would be needed. So, it may be that people to people relations were actually improved…, Ambassador G. Philip Hughes That continued for five years. The earthquake lasted around three minutes causing older buildings and poorly constructed infrastructure to fall. They were busy digging; it was dark. It turned out I was in charge of the Embassy. The leading newspaper of the day was called Excélsior, and it was truly an awful newspaper. I had the great honor to cut the ribbon at one project where I went with Henry Cisneros and Bob Krueger because San Antonio, where Cisneros was the Mayor, donated the money to rebuild a school. Tuesday's earthquake took place on the anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985. Mexico City is located at an elevation of more than 7,300 feet above sea level. The deaths were so numerous that they had to use the baseball stadium as an outdoor morgue. “Here come the Americans to blow up our Mexican buildings.” Would it work? It was autumn, September. It had a magnitudeof 8.1, and the number of people killed added up to 10,000 deaths. I remember there was a big deal when we brought down to Mexican City an American company to implode buildings. He sometimes felt that you had to talk tough to Mexicans…. Financially, we had already offered the Mexicans a variety of technical assistance from sniffer dogs to special jacks and engineering gear to try to rescue people from collapsed buildings. He and Connie Gavin did a tremendous amount of fund-raising and charity work then and later in helping the victims…. During this second period of mine in Mexico, 1985-1986, Mexico City was still peaceful. It was 30 years ago today that at least 5,000 people — some estimates put the number at closer to 10,000, others at four times that — died in the powerful Mexico City earthquake of 1985. Counselor for Public Affairs in Mexico City from 1978 to 1983. The first implosions were the biggest event of the week. On the morning of September 19, 1985, an 8.1-magnitude earthquake hit the western states of Mexico and including Mexico City. Western Mexico is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes with the Pacific plate and Cocos plate moving against the North American plate actively. T even sure they would be only a symbolic gesture, a magnitude 7.5 aftershock shook the region of. Mexican authorities maintaining any kind of crowd control around her important were inflatable bladders for water lesser... 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