Global Mission Responds to Chiapas Earthquake
As communities in southern Mexico continue to recover from the destruction caused by an earthquake in September, the RCA is responding with donations of goods, clean water, and spiritual support.
The magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck near Chiapas on September 7, affecting an estimated 1.5 million people. In Juchitan, Oaxaca, closest to the epicenter, one out of every six homes or buildings was destroyed, displacing more than 2,000 people, said Luis Ruiz, supervisor of RCA mission in North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
RCA Global Mission has donated more than $10,000 to supply the area with basic needs kits containing food, clothes, and household goods. In addition, the RCA has partnered with Aqua Clara International to provide 200 clean water filters. These filters can serve up to 20 people at a time and have a lifespan of ten years. Once they are installed and distributed, Ruiz said approximately 4,000 people will have access to clean drinking water.
Ruiz traveled to Juchitan earlier this month to meet with RCA missionaries Jaime and Martha Amaro and see what other community needs may exist.
“In most cases, the recovery process is slow and delayed,” Ruiz said. “Many communities have formed community kitchens to help struggling families with meals, and tent communities have popped up in nearby urban parks and parking lots.
“The government response to the initial disaster was prompt, but much of their services has come to a halt and in many places, they have packed up and have left the devastated areas. Many people have been left to fend for themselves, making Christian agencies now the main source of aid in the area.”
The Amaros have led two water filtration training events to instruct local church leaders in how to assemble, install, and maintain the donated water filters. These church leaders will follow up with families that receive a filter in order to provide any further assistance and spiritual support.
Ruiz said the RCA hopes to send more water filters to Mexico in the next few months.
“We have missionaries on the ground who are working side by side [with RCA mission partners in Mexico] providing relief and spiritual support,” he said. “The church is answering the call and now more than ever we need to continue to share God’s love to many people who find themselves in a desperate place. Please pray for strength, peace, and healing in these communities.”