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Mexico Earthquake Relief Update

Repairs are ongoing in Mexico after the 7.1-magnitude earthquake damaged two of our homes.

March 16, 2018

On September 19, 2017, a powerful earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale struck south central Mexico near two of our NPH homes. Thankfully, none of our children, volunteers or staff were injured. However, our NPH homes in Miacatlán and Cuernavaca suffered an estimated $5 million in damage.

Below is a summary of the repair efforts accomplished to date.

Enclosing Walls

  • On the site of an historically significant former sugar hacienda, repairs to the facilities at the NPH home in Miacatlán are subject to the approval of a Mexican historical preservation government agency. Large portions of the exterior wall collapsed and others were cracked. After obtaining authorization from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), 298.55 ft. of the wall were rebuilt and are now at a height of 13.12 ft.
  • Currently, reinforcement of the damaged arches outside the transportation area is being carried out. They are mostly being rebuilt with the same finishing of the original arches.
  • The enclosing wall around the Kindergarten’s patio/playground was fractured. It had to be demolished and rebuilt so that our children could play safely again there.

Exterior wall    Patio wall
Exterior wall; enclosing wall around patio

Elementary and Middle Schools

  • All of our schools suffered damage. In order to ensure our children’s safety, the first measure we took was obtaining a structural safety assessment for all the buildings, which helped us to define the work that needed to be done. We also conducted classes under tents outside until repairs were made and the buildings were declared safe for occupancy.
  • Based on the structural reports, the first stage began by restructuring the dividing walls. The worst damage we had in the classrooms was the separation of the beams and walls from the columns, endangering the whole structure. The junction of the beams with the columns were repaired using steel beams, and the roofs were reinforced.
  • To comply with school authorities, we delivered the structural safety reports of each school to the Instituto de la Educación Básica del Estado de Morelos (IEBEM) authorities, and then our children were able to return to their classrooms.

School exterior    Computer room
School exterior; computer room

Industrial chimney in MiacatlánChimney

  • The hacienda’s original chimney was leaning and had many cracks, and part of it was in danger of collapsing. The most important objective of our reconstruction activities is guaranteeing our children’s safety, so we had to demolish 114.83 ft. of the chimney, in accordance with INAH authorities.
  • During the work access to areas surrounding the chimney was limited. Civil Protection authorities also forbade access to the dining hall/kitchen because of its proximity to the demolition area.
  • The chimney’s original height was 213.25 ft. After demolition, it is 98.42 ft. high and represents no danger to our facilities.

Dining hall building and kitchenin MiacatlánDining Hall and Kitchen

  • The columns that support the enormous dining hall and kitchen building were cracked, endangering the vaulted roof. A topographic survey of the building was carried out and plummet levels were verified to check for ground instability.
  • The engineer in charge of the works is developing a calculation report to determine the caliber and width of the materials needed to reinforce the building. So far, he has decided to use seven reinforcements that will be distributed in the dining hall’s vaulted roof. Other construction items are IPE columns joined by a frame and a prefabricated beam with crossbeams for stability, concrete foundations, pedestals and binding beams.
  • There are six damaged columns and fluid mortar will be injected to fill their cracks.
  • The wash basins in the dining hall will be rebuilt in concrete.

Bugambilias Plaza in MiacatlánPlaza Bugambilias & Adjoining Walls Beside the Dining Hall/Kitchen

  • The remodeling and demolition works authorized by INAH to refurbish Plaza Bugambilias recently began. Only the second floor of the Plaza will be demolished, although that area was not recently used.
  • The original buttresses that were damaged due to the earthquake will be reinforced.

Water Tower

Repair bids are being obtained.

Cuernavaca: High School – Boys’ Dormitory

  • At the NPH home for high school students in Cuernavaca, we had to demolish the boys’ dorm walls that were severely damaged. Columns and steel beams were placed to reinforce the building’s structure. The columns will reinforce both floors of the rooms.
  • The walls are now rebuilt and painted.

Boys' rooms in Cuernavaca    Enclosing wall at high school in Cuernavaca
Enclosing wall at high school and boys’ dormitory in Cuernavaca

Repair Budget

The initial budget for all repairs was $5.1 million. To date, $2.7 million has been received and $400,519 has been spent. Progress has been slow because of the need for historic preservation approval in Miacatlán, and the high demand/backlog for architects, engineers, and construction trades/materials due to widespread structural damage throughout the region.

Description Initial Budget Received Spent as of 3/7/2018
Miacatlán $1,822,079 $1,501,799 $292,392
Cuernavaca $1,036,451 $886,551 $94,547
Other Expenses
(including staff salaries and benefits)
$487,853 $162,703 $13,580
Family Homes $1,800,000 $188,271
TOTAL   $5,146,383   $2,739,324   $400,519

The above are listed in order of priority.

We are deeply grateful to everyone who has contributed to the relief effort. Of the $2.7 million raised so far, more than $1.9 million was provided by NPH USA donors. If you would like to make a gift for the relief effort and to support our children, please click here.


Related Information
7.1-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Central Mexico: NPH Children Safe
Supporting Our Children After the Earthquake
NPH Mexico