Thursday, October 12, 2017
On The Conversation, Luis Gomez Romero writes about how migrants have helped assist in Mexico's recovery from the recent earthquakes. Two earthquakes left more than 450 dead and 150,000 houses damaged. Mexico faces huge challenges in recovery.
According to official estimates, the country will need more than 30 billion pesos (around US$2 billion) to rebuild. The resources required for Mexico’s recovery are almost double the country’s annual gross domestic product, according to World Bank figures.
Manpower, at least, has not been an issue. Search-and-rescue teams from several countries – including Chile, Colombia, Israel, Japan, Panama, the United States and Spain – arrived in the days after the earthquakes to dig survivors out of the rubble. Dozens of foreigners who reside in Mexico also joined the Mexican volunteers in their rescue efforts.
Among these international brigades was a group of undocumented Central American migrants who, interrupting their travel northward to the U.S., stayed in Mexico to help clean up debris and assist the victims.
Undocumented migrants are among those helping to rebuild the hardest-hit areas of Oaxaca state, where federal aid has been slow to trickle down. Presidencia de la República Mexicana CC-by-2.0, CC BY-SA
The sacrifice of this migrant humanitarian aid team has earned them hero status in Mexico. Like other volunteers who dug their neighbors free from the rubble with their bare hands, they have been lauded on social media and interviewed by reporters. And for once, the legal status of a group of Central Americans was not the story.