At Raleigh vigil, stories of loved ones and suffering from Mexico earthquake

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In Raleigh, people gathered to remember earthquake victims and to help with disaster relief.

Laura Lopez lives in Wake County. Her parents live in Oaxaca. Their home has cracks in it and their kitchen has completely collapsed.

They live in one of the areas suffering after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake rocked Mexico City and many surrounding areas.

She said her parents are cooking and sleeping outside, like so many other people who are worried their damaged homes could collapse at any time.

Lopez was one of several people who shared her story at a vigil in Raleigh on Friday night outside of La Pulguita, a store on South Saunders Street.

Angel Colon owns that store and is taking donations to send to the smaller areas of Mexico they say are not seeing as much help as Mexico City.

You can make a donation in person at La Pulguita, located at 2608 South Saunders St., from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.


The frustrated urge among volunteers to help - even though they no longer have much to offer after professional rescuers took over following Mexico's 7.1-magnitude quake - came to a head on Friday.

For days, the family of Laura Ramos had gathered outside the apartment building where Ramos lived, and whose ground floor pancaked in Tuesday's quake. The family wanted rescuers to enter, but authorities deemed it too dangerous; the building was leaning and could fall down at any moment.

So finally, the family approved efforts to dismantle the building to reach what would probably be Ramos' body.

But someone, unknown to the family, had filed a court injunction to block the controlled demolition. There has been a strong and vocal movement against the use of heavy machinery, for fears it could kill any survivors. But in this case, the family wanted the demolition to go forward.

On Friday, Ramos' daughter published an emotional appeal asking for the injunction to be withdrawn.

Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong reposted the video, saying "giving out false information has consequences. Here is one example of how it is blocking a recovery effort."


Inhabitants of the villages that dot the largely rural southern edge of Mexico City say they feel abandoned, as aid and rescue workers focused on the 38 buildings that collapsed nearer the city's downtown district.

Jaime Perez, the local historian of the village of San Gregorio Atlapulco, was pulled from the rubble of the Sept. 19 quake that destroyed his house, but he hasn't received any aid yet.

Downtown aid stations are overflowing with food, drinks and air volunteers, but the poorer southern villages have largely been left to themselves. Neighbors rescued Perez and his wife from the rubble of his house, and he still wears a bandage on his arm. He now has nowhere to live. Authorities say 121 of the villages houses were severely damaged.

"It is unfortunate that the Condesa and other neighborhoods with rich people and tourists get the aid. We are a village, and we need a lot of aid," Perez said.


In Mexico City, Jorge Daniel Huitzil and Erika Castillo Aparicio are spending their first night as husband and wife sleeping beneath a tarp in a makeshift quake shelter.

They had plans to tie the knot this week in a civil ceremony followed by a church service and a reception. But Tuesday's deadly earthquake turned their world upside down.

Their apartment building was damaged so severely that it's too dangerous to live there, and the young couple wanted to postpone the nuptials. But then they learned they would lose their slot at city hall - and the 1,019 pesos (about $60) they had paid to reserve it.

A beaming Huitzil said Friday, bride at his side: "We were not able to cancel it, so we had our wedding today."


Cristal Estrada is pacing back and forth with a blanket wrapped around her near the tent where she spent the night on the street in Mexico City's Roma Norte neighborhood. She is worried about her brother Martin, a 31-year-old accountant, who is believed to be in the remains of a seven-story office building across the street that collapsed in Tuesday's earthquake.

Estrada says she's frustrated that she can't do anything herself to help remove the rubble. Rescuers continue to say there's life in the wrecked building, but there's no telling whether that includes her brother.

Estrada worries that "they do not have much time in there."

Officials say scores of people have been rescued alive from collapse buildings, but at least 286 are known to be dead.


Rescue efforts were suspended overnight at a quake-collapsed seven-story building in Mexico City's Roma Norte neighborhood as rain drenched the area and destabilized the pile of rubble.

Workers were eager to restart under overcast but dry conditions as soon as experts confirm it's safe to do so. Jose Gutierrez is a relative of someone believed to be in the wreckage of the building, and also a civil engineer.

He gathered other families of the missing amid an ad-hoc campsite of tents, tarps and plastic chairs on Friday to let them know what was going on. A list of 46 names of missing people was attached to a nearby lamppost.

Gutierrez's voice broke with emotion as he spoke: "My family is there. I want them to get out, so ... we go onward."

Rescuers from countries including the United States, Israel, Japan and Panama were at the site.


Mexico's navy says it has rescued 115 people alive from the rubble of buildings in Mexico City that collapsed due to Tuesday's deadly quake.

The navy also says in a statement that it has recovered 88 bodies.

About 1,300 navy personnel are taking part in rescue efforts in various parts of the Mexican capital, alongside other brigades including police, Red Cross workers and civilian volunteers.

Authorities raised the death toll to 293 on Friday.
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