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Dispatches From Mexico City: Earthquakes And Aftershocks

Author: Channel E2E blogger and resident musician Ty Trumbull

I’ve learned since moving to Mexico City that there are two types of earthquakes. The more violent type, the one that has a tendency to collapse buildings and fell trees, is when the earth moves up and down like a piston. The second type is when the earth moves back and forth. This type tends to cause less damage and chaos. It’s also, fortunately, the type that hit Mexico City this past Friday.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake was centered in Oaxaca and felt in more than seven states. Notably, the duration was longer than a minute. I was in the midst of rehearsal with my band when the siren sounded and we made our way to a safe area, and even in the midst of the quake, we were commenting on how long it was lasting. Car alarms rang out, telephone polls shook, and people flooded the streets.

There were no direct casualties from the earthquake, but sadly 13 people were killed when a helicopter carrying government officials crashed on its way to the scene of the quake. People in the area, fearing aftershocks, fled their homes and took shelter in a nearby field. According to officials, the pilot of the Black Hawk helicopter became disoriented thanks to poor visibility and crashed into several vehicles that were part of the encampment. A further 16 people were injured.

Fortunately, here in the capital, any damage seems to be minimal. The worst I’ve seen has been collapsed molding in a friend’s bathroom. It was also fortunate for me personally that the earthquake didn’t scare people from leaving their homes in the days following. As a musician, this can be pretty harmful, as I’m sure it as for many businesses. My band, Defeños, had been preparing for weeks for a concert the following day. Luckily, people were in the mood to dance and the show was a sold-out success.

Aftershocks persisted though, with one on Sunday night rousing our neighbors from their beds out into the street. In my house, we’re not quite as tuned into the sound of the siren – and being on the first floor we usually don’t feel the tremors as much as those above us – so we slept through the whole thing.

Everyone seems a little on edge and ready for the earth to stop shaking for a while. But happy that, this time, the damage was minimal.


Ty Trumbull, from his base in Mexico City, covers the entrepreneur’s journey and business continuity for ChannelE2E. Each Tuesday or so, he offers views about his adopted hometown — his personal Dispatches from Mexico City. Oh, but sometimes he pops up in his home nation of Canada.

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