Mexico was shaken by a major 7.1 magnitude earthquake that devastated several areas last week. Aftershocks and secondary earthquakes have continued to wreak havoc.
The “NY Daily News” reported that the death toll has climbed to 324, but that number is likely to continue to increase in the coming days.
Even though the earthquake occurred approximately 1,500 miles away from Albuquerque, New Mexico, it has had an impact on several former and current UNM student-athletes.
Andrea Leblanc, who said she was in Mexico City at the time of the earthquake, played tennis for New Mexico for several seasons. She was not near some of the areas that were most effected, but her sister was in La Roma, which was.
“Thank God nothing happened to (my sister), but she could see the chaos in the city,” Leblanc said.
Leblanc said she has been moved by seeing how many people have banded together to help each other out, even going out herself to provide food to those assisting in the relief effort.
“It’s amazing the amount of people doing everything they can to help,” she said.
Leblanc said despite the efforts of the people, residents still need a lot of help. She hoped others would be moved to get involved and donate to the relief effort through Topos Rescue Brigade and Red Cross Mexico, which have set up accounts to receive donations.
Ingrid Gutierrez is a current student-athlete at UNM, playing on the women’s golf team. She said her family was also safe but very near the epicenter of the earthquake, saying her home state of Morelos was among the areas most affected.
“Thanks to God, all my family is good. Their businesses got a little effected, but nothing serious,” she said. ”(But) a lot of people lost their home and pretty much all they had.”
Gutierrez said that even people who are far away from the devastation can help the cause. She said there are several campaigns such as the Red Cross, or “donación cruz roja,” that are helping raise funds to provide medical supplies and assistant to those that were injured.
Rodolfo Jauregui, better known as “Fito” to those who have followed his Lobo men’s tennis career, said he remained in Albuquerque at the time of the event. He is finishing up his degree at UNM and hopes to start earning his master’s degree in sports administration soon.
He said although his family members felt the earthquake, they were safe — though he admitted it was difficult to reach everyone with the phone networks being down or busy.
Jauregui said he is close with Jorge Escutia, his current roommate and former teammate, as well as Leblanc and Gutierrez. It has been helpful having each other to lean on during the ordeal.
He said it has been hard on him, because he has friends and family in the surrounding areas and cannot go there to help them.
But there are plenty of other ways to help. Jauregui said there are a lot of sources people can donate to that are circulating around social media.
He said often good things come out of bad situations. Despite loss of life and so many other negative consequences, Jauregui said it gives him a warm feeling to think that the human nature to help has had a unifying impact on everyone.
To find more information about how to donate or help with the relief efforts surrounding the earthquake in Mexico, here are some sites accepting donations:
Topos Rescue Brigade
Banco Santander: 9200809294
Red Cross Mexico: cruzrojadonaciones.org
Banco Bancomer: 0404040406
American Red Cross Wishlist: amazon.com.mx
Global Giving: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/mexico-earthquake-relief-fund/
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball, football and tennis. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter