Mexico earthquakes: Standing in solidarity with our sisters

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.

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.

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.

From Mexico City to Chiapas and Oaxaca, to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, to Antigua and Barbuda and other Caribbean islands, to Houston, to Nepal and Bangladesh, and Puerto Rico 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.”

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.