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Situation Report
Earthquake Puebla State, Mexico
LAST UPDATED: 9/22/2017 4:00 AM (Pacific Daylight Time)
Impacted UCEAP Study Center(s): Mexico Study Center
Location(s): Mexico City (CdMX)
Approx. time difference with PDT: Add 2 hours to Pacific Time

Sources of information for this report:  iJET International, US Embassy in Mexico City, open source media

September 22
Operations resumed at Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX) on Sept. 19. Vehicles can only access Terminal 2 via the roundabout due to a large crack the quake left outside the terminal. MEX officials have instructed passengers to allow extra time if accessing Terminal 2, but the damage is otherwise not impacting arriving or departing passengers. The airport's automated people mover (APM), the Aerotren, which carries people from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 is out of service.

Most of Mexico City's Metro lines are fully operational, but as of the evening of Sept. 20, Line 12 is only offering service from Mixcoac to Periferico Oriente stations. Authorities have closed off several roads in eastern Mexico City, including some thoroughfares near the Glorieta de Insurgentes and Parque Espana.

The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) organized a major relief effort and created a network of volunteers, including student brigades to reach out to the community with basic supplies, first-aid kits, etc., and a Collection Center (collecting specific articles and medical supplies, tools to help local workers that are actively involved in removing building debris).  They have a major center that they organized on their Olympic Stadium.

According to Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) electrical service had been restored to 92 percent of the 3.8 million customers that were affected after the earthquake. Authorities have kept electrical service off in some areas where rescue efforts are underway out of concern for the safety of responders.

As of about 2:00 p.m. September 20, normal water service had reportedly completely resumed in Puebla. Due to leaks, water shortages continue to affect about 700,000 people in Mexico City, mostly in Tlahuac, Iztapalapa, and Xochimilco.  Officials estimate that it will take until Sept. 24 to complete the repairs in the capital. The overall status of water service in Morelos is unclear, but local reports indicate that Colonia Buenavista's water system has suffered major damage. Serious damage is also possible in Jojutla.

September 19
Over 100 people have died and many injured in Puebla, Morelos, and Mexico states and Mexico City following a magnitude-7.1 earthquake.

The death toll is expected to rise in the coming days as response operations continue; Mexican armed forces have been deployed to assist with search and rescue operations throughout the region. Approximately 27 buildings - including homes, offices, and schools - have collapsed in Mexico City.

Flight operations were resuming at Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX) following damage assessments. Reports indicate that pavement outside of Terminal 2 was cracked. It remains unclear how the damage may impact arriving or departing passengers. Several arriving flights were diverted or held at departing airports during the suspension. Residual flight delays and cancellations will likely continue through the evening of Sept. 19 until the flight backlog is cleared. Short- and medium-haul passenger flights are more likely to be affected by potential disruptions than international routes. Most of Mexico City's Metro lines are fully operational; however, Line A and Line 12 were only partially in service.

Infrastructure in nearby Puebla and Cuernavaca was most likely compromised during the earthquake; however, it could take several days for the scope of the damage throughout the region to be realized. Widespread utility outages are likely in central and southern Mexico; early estimates from Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) indicate that 3.8 million customers are without power as of this evening.

Officials will temporarily close roads, rail lines, and other infrastructure to check for damage, especially in regions near the epicenter in the coming days. Disruptions will occur during any shutdowns, but service will probably resume quickly if no damage is found. Aftershocks highly likely in the area in the coming days and could lead to additional landslides, utility outages, and infrastructure damages.

US Embassy & Consulates in Mexico

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. ​​​​​