Mexico has been hit by its second devastating earthquake in two weeks. The most recent quake, which struck Puebla state in southern Mexico on Tuesday, has resulted in the confirmed deaths of at least 230 people. Hundreds of homes and businesses have been destroyed in the small town of Jojutla, and 40 buildings collapsed in Mexico City, with thousands more damaged. At the time of writing, rescue crews were still searching for survivors.
When natural disasters strike, it can be difficult to know how to help or what charities to give money to. To make things easier, Salma Hayek has created a fundraiser on CrowdRise where people can donate quickly and conveniently.
All of the money raised through the crowdfunding effort will go straight to UNICEF, which is working on the ground to support children and young people affected by the magnitude-7.1 earthquake.
“The people of my country have now suffered three natural disasters in a row,” Hayek wrote on her fundraising site, referring to the earlier earthquake on 8 September, which left more than 60 people dead in Oaxaca, Tabasco and Chiapas. Just one day later, at least two people were killed in a mudslide when Hurricane Katia arrived on Mexico’s east coast.
“Many children and families are hurt and in terrible need,” said Hayek, who was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz – around 250 miles from where Hurricane Katia hit. She added that she had already donated the equivalent of around £74,200 to help disaster victims in Mexico.
“I'm contributing $100,000 right now to support UNICEF’s relief efforts which has teams on the ground responding,” she wrote. “Please join me and contribute what you can and thank you.”
In a video also posted on the site, Hayek spoke about living through the magnitude-8.0 earthquake that hit Mexico in 1985, killing at least 5,000 people. The actress’s uncle and some of her friends were among those who died – and eerily, the most recent earthquake took place on the anniversary of the 1985 disaster.
“I have lived through the aftermath of a disaster of this magnitude, and it’s horrific,” said Hayek. “I am starting a CrowdRise to try and raise money to help the families that are going through this nightmare right now in Mexico.”
At the time of writing, Hayek’s appeal had raised almost £172,000 ($231,398) to help the relief effort.
Sixteen schools in Mexico City were destroyed or seriously damaged in the earthquake. At least 25 people – 21 children and four adults – were confirmed dead at primary school Colegio Enrique Rebsamen, and a rescue mission was underway on Thursday to try and free a 12-year-old girl still trapped under the rubble.
One volunteer, Ivan Ramos, told CNN that his son was a student at Colegio Enrique Rebsamen and had survived the quake. “This is a tragedy,” he said. “It’s kids. It will take a long time to heal.”
According to UNICEF’s website, the charity’s “priorities will be to provide social and emotional support for children and adolescents affected by the quake” in Mexico, “and to help them regain a sense of normalcy by helping them resume their educations as soon as possible”.
Images: Rex Features