Mexico earthquakes: Standing in solidarity with our sisters

September 27 UPDATE

“There are women on the frontlines supporting rescue events, preparing food, distributing goods,” explains one Global Fund for Women grantee partner in Mexico City. “The solidarity and mutual support is encouraging and is holding the city together in such harsh moments.”

In the wake of the devastating earthquakes in Mexico and hurricanes in the Caribbean, Global Fund for Women’s network of grantee partners tell us that the women they work with are stepping into help with relief efforts—distributing food, water, and medical supplies. They’re focused on meeting the immediate needs of women and girls, and ensuring goods are reaching the most marginalized and remote populations.

As immediate relief continues, our partners—grassroots women’s groups and Semillas, the women’s fund in Mexico—are focused on assessing the unique needs of women and girls, identifying where there are gaps in relief for remote communities, and meeting with other women’s groups to work together to create longer-term strategies for recovery and rebuilding with a gender lens. Our partners report that they’ve initially identified women’s and girls’ immediate and long-term needs like shelter, safety from gender-based violence, emotional and psychological trauma counseling, and medical needs.

The strength and resilience of people in Mexico and the Caribbean remains intact, despite the destruction of homes and communities, and loss of loved ones. One of our partners described the inspiring mobilization of young women to help around-the-clock rescue efforts at the site of a collapsed textile factory in the Obrera neighborhood of Mexico City, where the majority of workers were women.

While the complete immediate and long-term impacts of these climate events in Mexico and the Caribbean remain to be seen, Global Fund for Women is continuing to raise much-needed funds and evaluating our crisis response strategy to best meet the needs of our grassroots partners and fellow women’s funds. Help us support women in the hardest-hit and most marginalized communities.

September 23 UPDATE

This morning, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake aftershock shook southern Mexico, centered in Oaxaca. This comes as the country is reeling from two powerful earthquakes: a devastating quake on Tuesday in Mexico City that reportedly killed 300 people, and an 8.1-magnitude quake—the country’s strongest in a century—that hit the southern coast on September 8th.

In addition, Hurricane Maria has left a trail of destruction, killing at least 25 people in the Caribbean, and leaving thousands displaced and without power or shelter. It’s the second major hurricane to savage the Caribbean this month.

Join us in expressing solidarity with the resilient people of Mexico and the Caribbean, and help us support women in the hardest-hit and most marginalized communities.

“As usual, those most affected are women in the most economically impoverished communities, yet they are rich in strength and resilience,” expressed one of Global Fund for Women’s grantee partners in Oaxaca.

In the wake of disaster and crises, it is critical that we support grassroots women’s groups in areas that are most remote and hardest hit. Such groups are uniquely positioned to meet the often-overlooked needs of women and girls and able to reach communities often left out of traditional aid efforts. Global Fund for Women has reached out to our network of grantees, advisors, and partners to understand how our international network can help meet the immediate needs of women and girls, and support relief and recovery.

As one of our grantee partners in Oaxaca reports, the hardest hit are “the communities in the southeast, which have the largest rates of poverty and marginalization in the state, and are largely indigenous communities.”

Our partners explain that the most immediate needs are for shelter, food, water, and medicine and health services. There is also concern about an increase in violence against women—as the incidence of sexual violence increases in the aftermath of disasters.

While the impact of the devastating earthquake that struck Mexico City Tuesday is still being felt, Global Fund for Women’s partners in Oaxaca and Chiapas express a heightened concern that aid and relief efforts will remain focused in the capital and will not be distributed to remote areas. Getting supplies to these areas is immensely challenging even in the best of times: they report that it takes up to 10 hours by car to get from Oaxaca City to the coastal regions in clear weather without debris and damaged roads.

Grassroots women’s groups in Global Fund for Women’s network are already stepping up to fill gaps. “We are doing many things—a team went to Mexico City to bring food and basic items back,” one of our grantee partners in Oaxaca reported.

From Mexico City to Chiapas and Oaxaca, to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, to Antigua and Barbuda and other Caribbean islands, to Houston, to Nepal and Bangladesh, and Florida—we stand in solidarity with countless communities around the world dealing with destruction from severe natural and human-made disasters and threats of extreme weather.

“It is absolutely devastating to have so many of our sisters and close partners experiencing disasters, but if there is one thing that we at Global Fund for Women have learned in times like these, it’s that women step up,” said Musimbi Kanyoro, Global Fund for Women’s President and CEO. “Supporting our grantee partners—local, women-led groups who are deeply rooted in the communities they serve—is more critical than ever as women both lead relief efforts and face unique challenges and vulnerability. These grassroots groups will not only fill critical holes in immediate relief, but will lead long-term recovery and sustainable rebuilding. They will continue to work in and with their communities long after international aid leaves.”

September 20 UPDATE

Mexico was struck by a powerful earthquake Tuesday, leaving more than 200 people dead and many more injured among rubble in Mexico City and beyond. This comes just two weeks after what is believed to be the country’s strongest quake in a century struck the southern coast, leaving Oaxaca and Chiapas reeling.

“As usual, those most affected are women in the most economically impoverished communities, yet they are rich in strength and resilience,” expressed one of Global Fund for Women’s grantee partners in Oaxaca.

In the wake of disaster and crises, it is critical that we support grassroots women’s groups in areas that are most remote and hardest hit. Such groups are uniquely positioned to meet the often-overlooked needs of women and girls and able to reach communities often left out of traditional aid efforts. Global Fund for Women has reached out to our network of grantees, advisors, and partners to understand how our international network can help meet the immediate needs of women and girls, and support relief and recovery.

In addition to the situation in Mexico, Hurricane Maria began tearing through Puerto Rico on Wednesday, and is expected to hit the Dominican Republic and Haiti next. This, too, barely weeks after Hurricane Irma tore through several Caribbean islands.

Join us in expressing solidarity with our dear partners, sisters, and the brave people throughout Mexico and the Caribbean as they face disaster and begin recovery.

We will keep our international networks updated as we learn more about how we can all support the hardest-hit communities and most marginalized populations. We’ll share more about how grassroots women’s groups are responding, rebuilding, and filling gaps in recovery in Mexico and the Caribbean as soon as we have more information.

September 11: Update

An 8.2-magnitude earthquake hit the southern coast of Mexico on Thursday, with tremors felt throughout the country and into Guatemala. Oaxaca and Chiapas, where 25% of the population belong to indigenous groups, bore the brunt of the earthquake. The level of destruction and damage remains to be seen, and the death toll is expected to rise.

The earthquake was described by Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto as the country’s strongest in a century. It is the biggest quake experienced anywhere in 2017, according to the BBC.

Global Fund for Women has reached out to our network of grantees, advisors, and partners in the areas hardest-hit to better understand the current situation and assess how best our international network can help meet the immediate needs of women and girls. Our decades of experiences proves that investing in grassroots women’s groups to lead crisis response and sustainable recovery efforts makes a significant difference for communities in the aftermath of disasters.

Join us in expressing solidarity with our dear partners and the brave people of Mexico as this crisis unfolds.