La Cartita

To Fight Hepatitis Outbreak, Semillas Fundraises Thousands For Mexico Earthquake Victims

To Fight Hepatitis Outbreak, Semillas Fundraises Thousands For Mexico Earthquake Victims

La Cartita -- Semillas Social Justice and Art Collective, with activities in Los Angeles, New York and now on the site of the two earthquakes that have striked Mexico this month, has raised over 4 thousand dollars via a Go Fund Me. The funds will be directed towards activists and community members in 4 neglected areas of Mexico. The Semillas organization has no connection to the Mexican government or foreign based NGO's. All funds will be provided for either food or emergency aid. Oxygen tanks are in particular demand.

Global Aide To Mexico: From Califas to Tlalpan

The 7.1. quake had as its epicenter San Juan Raboso, in Puebla, MX and left nearby Mexico City buildings in ruins. Morelos, the City of Puebla, Oaxaca and Chiapas still felt the effects and were already suffering from a 8.1. earthquake from a few days earlier. Daisy Bugarin, Chicana/Mexican organizer (El Monte native) and founder of the Semillas collective, launched the fundraising campaign from Los Angeles, California immediately after news of the second quake was reported in the Mexican press. She was able to rally Mexican businesses and students, who have been central to this effort. Kind individual donations trickled in over the weekend from individuals scattered in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.

Mexican Anxiety: Civilians Organize, But Government Wants Control

As an organization, Semillas cast a wide net in terms of outreach. Among their key contacts are affiliates of 'Consejo Ciudadano del Anahuac', 'Red Ciudadana de Información' and 'Red Ciudadana and Ayuda por Morelos'. Daniel Marmolejo coordinates with Dr. Rodolfo Ondarza in these committees. People from as far as Europe and Egypt have also given funds to the effort proving that the Mexican community has friends and allies in every region of the world. Neither Ondarza or the Mexican collectives are big on self-promotion, but are anxious about making sure that the right people receive help. In Xochilmilco, Mexico City DF, there is a hepatitis pandemic due to damage to sanitation breakdown.

It is important to note that the consequences can be damning if not. Already, Proceso reports that the Mexican military sacked the home of a quake survivor. In other instances, the reknowned 'Topos' organization, an organization of volunteer and medics tasking themselves to deal with quake wreckage, has been barred access to quake sites by the Mexican government, which is anxious too, but not about helping people.

Rather, the Mexican government does not wish for individuals to become so empowered at a communal level. Aid packages have been intercepted and stockpiled in government warehouses. Ironically, this has led to massive reappropriation by civilians who have in turn given that aid back to the quake victims and simply encouraged more autonomous organizing.

Dr.Ondarza: On The Ground, But In Danger

Rodolfo Ondarza is a reknowned Mexican Neuro-Surgeon. He received training in both the US and Mexico. Unfortunately, after he denounced forced experimentation in government funded hospitals, he became the victim of constant harrasment and death threats. Assasins hired by the person he denounced disconnected his break lines. His case is acknowledge as one denoting impending doom by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights. He has official protection and lives with a 'panic button' to alert hesitant authorities if he should find himself in immediate danger.

However, Ondarza is still at the forefront of providing aide to victims of the 7.1. quake. For the Morelos Dr. Rodolfo Ondarza has been one of the principal on the ground contacts for Semillas. It is increasingly common to fundraise outside of institutional elements. Everything is scarce except dignity.

From Food To Roof Fixtures
A brigade of medical volunteers departed to Morelos from Club de Leones (Mexico City) Video: Rodolfo Ondarza, September 25, 2017

While Condesa and Roma neighborhoods in Mexico City have received a modest amount of help, neighboring regions in Morelos and Puebla states - even poorer neighborhoods, like Xochilmilco, in Mexico City - have not. The demand and need for these services has been best analyzed by local observers. Dr.Ondarza has provided La Cartita with a video depicting the departure of medical volunteers from Mexico City to the state of Morelos.

Following the quake, a massive amount of rain poured over regions in the state of Morelos. The damaged infrastructure led to a dam breaking. People now need tents and mobile stoves in the short term too:

After earthquake, rain fell over the affected state of Morelos, causing flooding. Video: Rodolfo Ondarza, September 25, 2017

The resulting flooding rendered various peoples homes unusable. Ondarza notes that there is huge need for temporary accomodations. Small roofs 'laminas' or 'lonas' are needed to cover up people from the rain and allow them to stay dry in the rain as they wrestle with both the quake's consequences and homelessness.

Recently, Semillas updated the GoFund Me extending the goal amount to 5,000 dollars. They did after noting that the group had not expected the outpouring of support to reach the original goal of 4,000 dollars so quickly. In less than 4 days, 355 people decided to either donate or share the Go Fund Me page on social media. Such is the demand for people to connect with Mexicans in this dire time of need in a manner independent of the government. Distrust of established institutions in Mexico is at an all time high.

Dr. Rodolfo Ondarza Helps Organize Earthquake Aide in Tlalpan Video: Rodolfo Ondarza, September 19, 2017

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