Yucatan News: Earthquake Protocols
As the number of earthquakes increase in both size and proximity to Yucatan, it has come to the attention of both the authorities and the people that few who live here have any idea of what they should do if an earthquake strikes nearby. Not many expats have ever been exposed to earthquakes either. Although there have not been any earthquakes in the State of Yucatan since 1909, in 2015, there was one reported near Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo. Now, we have this huge quake that sent tremors from offshore Chiapas all the way to Yucatan. Yucatan has many colonial buildings in desperate need of either repair or replacement. Yes, it has been 109 years since there was an earthquake in the State of Yucatan; but, with so many old buildings in need of repair, tremors from an earthquake, even if it is not in our state, could bring one or more of those houses down and hurt whoever is near it very badly. In order to deal with this issue, Yucatan’s Civil Protection agencies are working on a protocol they and the people should follow when and if we have an earthquake here in Yucatan. Just because it hasn’t happened, doesn’t mean it won’t. Actually, this doesn’t have to be the case. As of 2010, Yucatan had a state of the art seismological center but, somehow, it slipped through the cracks and has been chained and padlocked for years. Needless to say, that is changing immediately.
Recent Natural Disasters
This certainly has been a couple of weeks to remember! On the heels of Hurricane Harvey’s (Cat 4) destruction along almost the entire Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, Katia (Cat 3) hit Veracruz, Irma (Cat 5) hit Florida, and Jose (Cat 4) managed to duck and dive and miss most of the islands in his path. At one time, the three of them looked like a huge fleur de lis, ready to tear up the world. But it wasn’t over yet. Then the earthquake hit, right off the coast of Chiapas. However, if you look closely at the map, even a little kid could throw a rock from the west side of Veracruz to where that earthquake hit. This was no small earthquake either. It registered with a magnitude of 8.2, killed over 70 people, and tremors were felt all the way down to Yucatan and over to Mexico City, which - by the way - was also hit by a weakening Katia. Is it over yet? We have absolutely no idea. How many died? We have no way of knowing yet. The best thing to do is prepare for the worst and then enjoy your life. If anyone NOB needs help getting over this mess, let us know. There are lots of Yucatan Living readers and Yolisto members up here and we will all do what we can to help.
Quake Damage Widespread
Although the earthquake hit both Chiapas and Oaxaca, it is Chiapas that has sustained the most damage. As of the last assessment, seven of every ten homes have been badly damaged or destroyed, plus over 800 schools and most of the clinics and hospitals. The people of Veracruz, Chiapas and Oaxaca all need help. We will be watching for special projects designed to assist them in the coming weeks. If any of our readers hears of an assistance program, please let us know. We will be more than happy to pass it on. We never have these kinds of natural disasters in Yucatan, so - when trouble does come - it doesn’t take us long to set things back to rights. It is going to be years before these victims have their lives back in order, if ever. Please do whatever you can to help them recover.
Strong Winds Interrupt Fishing
Pulpo (octopus) fishing is one of the foundation blocks of the economy of the coastal towns and villages of Yucatan. Without pulpo fishing, one whole segment of the economy is missing. Unfortunately, Katia and Irma churned the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico pretty good and slapped around some pretty active and unruly currents as well. This left Progreso’s pulpo fishermen with a total of 10 pulpo for the day and a decision to suspend the expense of even going out for the next few days. Hopefully, the sea will calm down before anything else happens and the pulpo fishermen can get back to work. If not, then there will be that many more families in need of services and children in need of a visit from Santa and support for their education.
Updating Rural Schools
The one thing that has so impressed us over two decades in Yucatan is the determination of the people to look at life, culture, children, adults, and the elderly as all existing as part of the same living organism. We have never met a Yucateco who does not believe that, in order for life and culture to survive, good human beings must be, literally, engineered by those who went before them. This extends to little things, such as having a nice school. If this is where children are going to spend most of their waking hours, it needs to be a nice place, so that they will grow up and not only repeat that, but do better. In addition, their parents must commit to doing school maintenance and repairs so that the children will see that both they and their school have their parents’ value and respect. It is really quite a simple concept that has kept them in the winner’s circle in the double-digit thousands of years now. Congratulations to everyone who works in the Yucatan School System and to all of the students for all you do and all you accomplish.
Orchestra and Dance Education
Alejandro Pinzon was the first Yucateco to earn a PhD in Orchestra Conducting. Now another Yucateco named Ada Lia Tzab Poot is making an impression with her musical skill. The young lady from Motul is a harpist. After obtaining her degree from the Yucatan School of the Arts in Merida, she was accepted at a conservatory in Paris. Every once in awhile, she comes home and gives a concert or two to help pay for her schooling. Please do watch for her and be sure to do all that you can to help her. She is a wonderful young lady and works hard to present Yucatan in the best possible light.
Catwalk Fashion for Charity
In order to help support the Tocate Foundation, Francesca Association, Babies with Wings and Suenos de Angel, there will be a Love Rock Fashion Show at the Minaret house on Paseo Montejo. Luciernagas Yucatan and Guillermo Perez Alayon will showcase the autumn-winter collections of designers Alejandro Carlin, Alfredo Martinez and the In Love Mexico line. Special guest will be Diana Jimemez, mother of Salma Hayek, who is a jewelry designer and will be bringing several pieces that complement the fashions that will be shown. The event takes place on September 22 at the Minaret of Paseo de Montejo.
El Grito - VIVA MEXICO!
On Friday, September 15, for the past 207 years, Mexicans around the world have gathered to give the Cry of Dolores (aka the Cry of Independence). If they are in Mexico, you will likely find them in the center plaza of their town or city. Such will certainly be the case in Merida and throughout Yucatan. The show will begin with a band at 9:00 PM. At midnight, the cry of independence will go up throughout Mexico and beyond. If you love Mexico but can’t be here, just go outside and give the cry from your front porch. It might be fun to watch the look on your neighbors’ faces. Play a little loud music and pop a firecracker or two - just for fun. But always remember that freedom is the goal and worth whatever price you have to pay. VIVA MEXICO!
Please help identify the bird in this photo. Evidently all snowbirds afflicted with smartassery (Lynette, we miss you) pose pretty much alike. Is this Jardinero or Dav_in_Ont? No-it-is-not-jim-in-chelem. He is not a snowbird!... Anybody know who else it might be? To the rest of our Snowbirds (new and old), we can’t wait to have you and your energy back in Yucatan. Just a couple of more weeks and all of our Snowbirds will be “Home for the Winter.”
More Stray Dogs
There has been an increase of stray dogs in the Municipality of Progreso. These are, for the most part, not dogs that were born and raised on the street. Many of these dogs are pets that have cruelly been turned loose in the streets. We know how much Yucatecos love their pets, so it could be that the economy is such that the owners are no longer able to care for them. The dogs and the people need your help.