Earthquake rattles buildings in Palo Alto's sister city, Oaxaca

City appears to have withstood quake without major damage; officials fear greater devastation in isthmus area

The 8.1-magnitude earthquake that hit Mexico's southwestern coast Thursday night has caused some building damage to Palo Alto's sister city, Oaxaca, though early reports indicate that the havoc was more extensive in the nearby isthmus region.

Bob Wenzlau, president of Palo Alto's Neighbors Abroad program, has been in touch this morning with the Oaxaca City Fire Chief Manuel Maza, who is also the director of civil defense for the State of Oaxaca. According to Maza, the earthquake caused damage to a few houses in the older part of the city. But Maza also indicated that there appear to have been casualties in the isthmus area, which is located in and around the eastern part of the state.

While early indications out of Oaxaca City are encouraging, Wenzlau said it's hard to gauge the extent of the damage in the isthmus area because there is little communication coming out of that area at this time.

"Within our network in Oaxaca, the families are fine and the structures are fine," Wenzlau told the Weekly. "The chief is looking at the (earthquake damage) as a fire chief would – to respond to where there is structural damage.

"He said it was limited in the city, but he is also focused now on the isthmus area."

Wenzlau said he is reaching out to Palo Alto's Fire Chief Eric Nickel to see if it would be possible to provide mutual aid to the areas where there was structural damage.

Christopher Lockwood, who runs Palo Alto's student exchange with Oaxaca City, also sent an email Friday morning to confirm that everyone in the group is fine, though he noted that "some buildings and hotels nearer to the coast have collapsed and some schools and hospitals are damaged."

Lockwood wrote that the earthquake was a "big shock because everyone was in bed."

"Many of the local areas have received torrential rain during the last couple of days too, so they were also flooded as well as shaken," he wrote.

The school hosting the students was out Friday so that buildings can be checked for structural issues, he wrote, but people are hoping that everything would be back to normal by Monday.


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3 people like this
Posted by Time to help
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 8, 2017 at 6:42 pm

NYTimes report this evening: "In Oaxaca State, at least 45 people were killed, including the 36 in here in Juchitán, a provincial city of 100,000. 'A total disaster,' the mayor, Gloria Sánchez López, declared in a telephone interview in which she appealed for help. 'Don’t leave us alone.'" ... Oaxaca State is not the city of Oaxaca to be sure, but it seems to me this "Sister City" status offers a great opportunity for a Palo Alto drive to help... Working through Oaxaca to find out what is most needed, and through contacts there makes it more likely that donated funds will be used wisely and in areas of great need... what do you say, Palo Alto?

1 person likes this
Posted by Bob Wenzlau
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 9, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Bob Wenzlau is a registered user.

As we know the State of Oaxaca suffered a disaster as a consequence of Thursday's earthquake; an earthquake that occurred at a time when other disasters are occurring. Given Neighbors Abroad standing in Oaxaca, we have started to accept monies to be used toward supporting the recovery.

Web Link

This is Network for Good, and please designate "Oaxaca Earthquake Relief" into the memo.

For those that use Facebook, I have been sharing videos that capture the impact - Web Link - and will mount the effort there to raise monies. Some encouragement came as ABC News will feature Palo Alto and our engagement with Oaxaca. It would be honorable to say we have a program of support.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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