On September 7th, 2017, an earthquake of 8.1 magnitude struck southern Mexico, with the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca being closest to the earthquake's epicenter. Many people lost their homes and/or relatives as a result of the earthquake, the strongest Mexico had experienced in a century.
Members of the IME community, many from the de Pablo group, made donations to support earthquake victims from Ixtepec, Oaxaca and earthquake relief efforts. The money from the donations was used to buy various provisions and clothes that were delivered directly to the earthquake victims most in need.
IME community teams up for aid in Mexico earthquakes
by Louise Lerner
Several powerful earthquakes shook Mexico in September: a powerful magnitude-8.1 quake centered in southern Mexico on Sept. 7, and another less-powerful but more destructive 7.1 quake near Mexico City on Sept. 19. These were followed by yet another quake, a 6.8 temblor close to the first.
Relief efforts have been ongoing, but the community of the Institute for Molecular Engineering took a special interest: one of its own was in Mexico when the first quake struck.
Jose Adrián Martinez-Gonzalez had recently finished his postdoctoral studies at the IME, studying the behavior of liquid crystals in pursuit of stable new structures with novel applications. His grandmother’s house, like many others, was damaged in the quake.
He wrote to the community, and it responded, sending donations that purchased food, water, clothes, and other provisions for citizens in Ixtepec, Oaxaca.
“This year has been so unusual in terms of hurricanes and earthquakes that occurred basically at the same time,” Martinez-Gonzalez said, which hampered relief efforts with flooded and damaged roads. “However, it is really touching to see these signs of love coming from people, giving unconditional help in so many different ways.”
Other communities in Peru and other Mexican states provided aid as well, he said.
“I am so proud to see our community step up for a colleague and friend in this way,” said Juan de Pablo, the Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering and the leader of the group Martinez-Gonzalez worked with. “It really demonstrates the true sense of camaraderie and altruistic purpose shared by the students, faculty, and staff who work here at the IME.”