Human Behavior in the Mexico City Earthquake: Some Implications from Basic Themes in Survey Findings

Quarantelli, E. L.
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Disaster Research Center
In September 1985 a major earthquake hit Mexico, especially its capital city. In the metropolitan area of Mexico City thousands of persons were killed and tens of thousands were injured. At least a hundred thousand building units, mostly residential ones, were damaged in some way. Hundreds of thousands of the population were rendered homeless. Material and property losses amounted to billions of dollars. Most of the important federal governmental buildings, many financial and industrial offices, key communication centers, and the largest central district hotels were in the major impacted zones. In addition, 30 percent of hospital beds in the city were lost as well as 22 percent of school facilities, and more than 10,000 shops and factories were affected. Obviously all this considerably disrupted everyday life in the largest urban complex in the world. Thus, what happened by an criteria was a major disaster although perhaps not a catastrophic one given the population base and community resources involved (e.g., the residents in the metropolitan area number over 20,000,000 and the directly affected neighborhoods amounted to only 3.2 percent of the whole federal district).
Mexico City , earthquake , human behavior