80ºF

After Mexico earthquake, SA families anxiously wait to hear from loved ones

Phone lines are down; most people still waiting to contact family and friends

SAN ANTONIO – Parts of Mexico are still in a state of emergency after a massive earthquake ripped through Mexico City and surrounding areas Tuesday.

More than 100 people have died and others are stuck in collapsed buildings. Families in San Antonio are anxious to hear from loved ones. 

It's a terrifying waiting game for Maria Angelica Chipatecua.

"I think I know 50 total, and I've only talked to three," she said.

Family and friends she spoke to described the scene in Mexico City as chaotic. 

"She was talking about how people were stuck. That there were fires (and) buildings had collapsed," Chipatecua said. "There were some factories that just exploded."

RELATED: Central Mexico earthquake kills more than 100, topples buildings

Though she is worried about unaccounted for loved ones, she's thankful several are safe.

"My dad was there. He left last night from here to Argentina and that was his connection. He was one of the few last airplanes to leave before it shook," she said.

She described a helpless feeling of being far away.

"I actually have done volunteer for Red Cross and all this other stuff, so, you know, you're able to help them but, you can't do anything. You feel like your hands are tied," she said.

It's especially difficult when phone lines are down across the region.

"It's very early, as I said, and the telephone system collapsed because everyone is trying to reach out to their relatives. So little by little the services are being restored so we have to be patient," said Reyna Torres, with the San Antonio Mexican Consulate. She said anyone who can get through should text instead of call, to use less data. 

She said anyone looking for details about someone in Mexico should call the center for information, which will be available. That number 1-855-463-6395.

As for donations, Torres said to wait. People in Mexico are still dealing with an emergency situation. Once they are able to receive donations, the consulate will let people know how to give. They say the best way at first will be monetary donations. 

Torres mentions an eerie fact, that Tuesday was the anniversary of Mexico's big earthquake of 1985.

IMAGES: Destruction after massive earthquake strikes Mexico City

"Every year we go through a drill to know what to do in case of this emergency so people are much more prepared than they were in 1985. The protocols are in place but still, this is a tragedy and we’re just starting to see what the consequences are," she said.

Mexico has even altered construction to better withstand earthquakes that big. Still, she said, no matter how much preparation there is, it's difficult to truly prepare for this much destruction.


About the Author: