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Situation Report
Chiapas: Offshore Earthquake
LAST UPDATED: 9/8/2017 4:00 AM (Pacific Daylight Time)
 
Impacted UCEAP Study Center(s): UC Center
Location(s): Mexico City
Approx. time difference with PDT: Add 2 hours to PT

​iJET International, open source media


​September 8
The Mexican Ministry of the Interior has declared a state of emergency in Chiapas State. The move activates emergency funding and makes available additional resources such as food, shelter, and medicine. The declaration came at about the same time as the Antonio Dovali Jaimes refinery near Salina Cruz, Oaxaca State, exploded early today. There were no injuries reported, as the refinery had been evacuated after the quake as a precaution.

Preliminary reports indicate that one of the hardest hit areas was the town of Juchitan de Zaragoza, located in Oaxaca State northeast of Salina Cruz; there, several buildings, including a hospital and the town hall, were destroyed.

Authorities are conducting damage inspections throughout the region, which will likely continue for several days. The government of Mexico has ordered schools in 11 states across the region closed today so that school infrastructure could be inspected.

Officials may temporarily close roads, rail lines, and other infrastructure to check for damage, especially in regions near the epicenter. Minor disruptions will occur during any shutdowns, but service will probably resume quickly if no damage is found.

Aftershocks are likely in the area in the coming days and could lead to additional landslides, utility outages, and infrastructure damages.

September 7
M 8.1 - 54 miles SW of Pijijiapan, 43.31 miles deep at 04:49:21 UT.

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a press conference that the quake was the biggest to strike the country in a hundred years. According to initial reports, at least 1 million customers were left without electricity immediately following the quake, but as many as 800,000 have had their power restored by early Sept. 8. Officials continue to urge people to eschew voice communication on cellular networks in favor of SMS text messages, which use considerably less bandwidth. Telecommunications networks are likely to have been at least partially damaged from the quake; officials also want to free up mobile bandwidth for emergency responders.

Damage and injury reports have been slow to arrive in the aftermath of the temblor. Officials have described the earthquake as the strongest recorded in the history of Chiapas. The quake was felt as far away as Mexico City (521 miles north).

All sources of information are corroborated before distribution. If there is any important information about security or updates, UCEAP will publish it on this website. University of California Education Abroad Program considers the health, safety and security of UCEAP participants seriously and provides reliable and timely information to help students make informed decisions regarding their health and personal safety abroad.

UCEAP International Health and Safety Protocols

The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) strives to promote a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff, and to offer reliable information on health precautions and potential risks that students should consider when studying and traveling abroad. Safety on UCEAP is a shared responsibility and requires students to be well-informed and active participants in their own well-being overseas.

UCEAP provides students with health and safety information through pre-departure and onsite orientations and online pre-departure documentation so students and parents can enhance their own research with updated information. Also, experienced staff in California and abroad are ready to answer questions from students and their parents.
 
The UCEAP International Health, Safety, and Emergency Response (IHS&ER) Unit is dedicated to international health and safety related to UCEAP programming around the world. IHS&ER in California and the UC Study Center and partners abroad monitor worldwide events daily and strive for timely reporting accuracy. During an emergency, a response team in California and abroad will coordinate a response.  Depending on the nature of the emergency, contingency plans are in place.
 
UCEAP works closely with UCEAP staff, faculty and partners abroad, UC emergency assistance providers, the U.S. Government, international organizations, NGOs, and other US institutions of higher education with students in the country, to share critical security and health information, monitor threats, reassess plans and strategies, and coordinate communication. UCEAP also partners with local UCEAP faculty and staff, and host country officials to coordinate the safe evacuation of students when necessary.
 
In the event of an emergency, UCEAP will trigger its emergency response protocol, which define lines of communication, resources and responses to emergency situations overseas and partners with local UCEAP faculty, staff, its partners, and host country officials to coordinate emergency planning and response.
 
The University of California Office of the President, Risk Services has contracted with the following travel assistance and insurance providers: iJET Intelligent Risk Systems, United Healthcare Global (UHCG), and CHUBB USA. iJET and UHCG provide worldwide assistance to UCEAP travelers during emergency situations. iJET provides real time intelligence and travel alerts designed to keep all UC travelers informed throughout their trip.  All UCEAP students are automatically registered with iJET to receive travel information and alerts for their destination.

UCEAP Emergency Contingency Plans

University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) operates an emergency response system in line with its international security provider based on four security levels to categorize the situation in a given country, or location, depending on the risk to individual students, or the group of students and faculty.  It also follows a four-phased approach in response to relocation or evacuation triggers. Certain situations may call for an expedited response moving quickly through all four phases or moving directly to the third or fourth phase, but the intent would remain the same; a set approach is followed. The need to safely relocate or evacuate students and faculty often happens in an atmosphere of crisis and chaos so preparedness is crucial for UCEAP to be able to respond effectively and quickly to a changing security situation.
 
UCEAP will relocate or evacuate students and faculty from a location to ensure they are not exposed to unnecessary risks.  A reasonable and informed decision is taken before anyone is put in danger. Situations can deteriorate rapidly and media attention with 24-hour reporting (at times uncorroborated) make effective decision-making more complex. Pre-defined  tripwires will prompt a series of actions.  The decision to relocate or evacuate is never easy. Some students will want to remain or feel that UCEAP is overreacting, or acting too cautiously. The decision will be taken by members of the UCEAP Crisis Management Team and the local UCEAP Centers and/or partner institutions working with University of California security providers and UC Office of the President Risk Services. ​​​​​