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The Princeton University Mexican Student Association is raising relief funds to donate to Mexican NGOs that specialize in rescue and disaster management in light of the recent earthquake devastation.

Carla López Castañeda GS is one of the students spearheading PUMSA’s efforts. She explained that the effort is largely the initiative of several Mexican students in the community.

“It’s really the [University students] who have been sharing the information with classmates and all the people they know,” said López Castañeda. “All of us are involved and have been shocked in the past days because we all know someone who has been affected in a way.”

The group has set up a Venmo account to receive the donations, and has been promoting its efforts on social media. The organizations to which funds will be donated include Cruz Roja Mexicana, Amazon, Oxfam México, Topos, and Cadena. Since Wednesday, the group has raised $4,778.50.

According to López Castañeda, the money is being donated through local Mexican bank Multiva. The bank is matching what the group raises, effectively doubling the funds.

“We don’t have a specific goal in mind, and we are still trying to have the fundraiser for a few more weeks,” López Castañeda added.

The effects of three earthquakes in a month have drastically shaken Mexico. On Sept. 19, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico, toppling at least 60 buildings and killing more than 155 people in Mexico City alone, according to The New York Times. Aside from the buildings already collapsed, dozens more are afflicted with severe structural damage, posing challenges and extreme risks to rescuers and residents of the city.

“As a Mexican student, I am glad to see how our small but vibrant community on campus has come together to support our fellow Mexicans back home,” said Soraya Morales Nuñez ’18. “News of the various earthquakes in the last few days has been emotionally heavy, especially since it was only last weekend that Mexico was celebrating its Independence Day. Some students have family in Mexico City and in surrounding areas, so it’s been an emotionally distressing time for some of our community members.” 

“It’s something that’s really personal to all of us and being abroad [from Mexico] is really frustrating and not being there and being able to help is frustrating,” said López Castañeda. “This is why we’re really putting an effort in this.”

The recovery will take years and a large amount of funding, even as Mexico continues to be besieged by aftershocks and several more earthquakes. On Saturday, Sept. 23, another earthquake, of 6.1 magnitude, struck Oaxaca state around 275 miles southeast of Mexico City. This particular earthquake’s epicenter was roughly between the other, more severe earthquakes from earlier this month — of 8.1 and 7.1 magnitudes.

López Castañeda explained that as recovery needs change, the group will assess and determine whether to change the destination of its fundraising to meet the changing needs.

Anyone interested in donating can Venmo to PU-Mexhelp with the title MEXDONATION.

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