“It’s like a nightmare”: Mexico still digging out from deadly earthquake

Click to play video: 'Vancouverite describes effects of Mexico earthquake' Vancouverite describes effects of Mexico earthquake
Vancouverite Dan Badelescu lives in Mexico City and experienced the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck on Tuesday. He describes what it was like and what he saw – Sep 20, 2017

On Sept. 19, 1985, a deadly 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck Mexico City, killing thousands and destroying hundreds of buildings.

Exactly 32 years later, Mexico was hit again, just hours after a city-wide evacuation drill to honour the victims of the ‘85 quake.

READ MORE: At least 225 people killed after major 7.1 magnitude earthquake strikes near Mexico City

This time, the 7.1 earthquake hit near Puebla, Mexico, killing at least 225 people and taking down dozens of buildings.

“The first time it happened [in 1985] I was shocked to see everything that could happen, especially having never seen such destruction before. But now, the second time around, knowing exactly what could happen, I was terrified,” said Margarita Carillo, who lives in Mexico City.
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Just less than two weeks ago Mexico was hit with another deadly tremor, an 8.1 earthquake that struck near Chiapas, Mexico, that killed almost 100 people.

“When the earthquake ends and you realize you are alive, it’s like a dream,” said Barbara Martinez, who was in the city at the time the earthquake struck.

“But when you see the devastation left behind, it’s like a nightmare.”

She said just two hours before Mexico was hit, her office was having a drill in memory of the ’85 victims, but when the earthquake began, everybody panicked, they couldn’t believe it was actually happening.

“I froze, I didn’t know what to do or how to help. I was terrified to think I might find people buried under the rubble,” said Martinez.

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Martinez also lived through the 1985 earthquake. She remembers not having access to water for days.

“Back then I had no way of communicating with my family…I went to the airport and asked a passenger to pass along a message to my family so they knew I was OK.”

READ MORE: Rescuers search for children in rubble of school as Mexico earthquake death toll rises to 225

The city stopped all activity, many having to wait hours before they could get home as traffic was at a standstill.

At one point, local media reported almost 900,000 people were left without power.

Social media was immediately inundated with powerful images of the aftermath of the quake.

Videos and photos showed hundreds of people lifting up rocks in complete silence to make sure anyone trapped under the wreckage can be heard.

People remove debris outside a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
A man comforts a frightened student as he collects her from her school in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, after an earthquake, Sept. 19, 2017. Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Rescue workers search for children trapped inside the collapsed school. AP Photo/Carlos Cisneros
Rescue workers search for children trapped inside the collapsed Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City. AP Photo/Carlos Cisneros
First responders work on removing the rubble of a collapsed building looking for survivors trapped underneath, after a 7.1 earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. The earthquake stunned central Mexico, killing more than 100 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Gustavo Martinez Contreras/AP
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People remove debris of a damaged building after a real quake rattled Mexico City on September 19, 2017 while an earthquake drill was being held in the capital. ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

Posts on Facebook show strangers offering their homes to those who have lost it all. Others sharing the picture of their loved ones, still missing in the rubble.

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“All the lines collapsed and all communications [went down], so everybody was trying to locate their loved ones and check how everybody was doing,” said Alma Beck, who was in a meeting on the seventh floor when the earth started shaking.
People lined up at a local Sam\’s in Mexico City to buy supplies.

Hundreds of people have reportedly lined up at grocery stores, trying to get supplies. One person told CKNW people at a local Sam’s were lined-up for hours, but said most people were buying groceries for shelters and to feed volunteers.

“There is a strong desire in the population to help. So everybody is willing to go out with spades and torches,” said former Vancouver resident Dan Badulescu, who was near Puebla at the time of the earthquake.

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Emotional videos posted online also show people standing shoulder to shoulder to help get supplies to those in need, forming lines to load trucks with food and water.

“Stay strong Mexico,” read messages online. “Mexico still stands.”

For donations, please head to the Mexican Red Cross.

*NOTE: Some quotes used in this story were translated from Spanish to English by the reporter

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