Individuals and businesses, both Mexican and international, have come forward with pledges of millions of dollars in donations to aid victims of Tuesday’s massive earthquake.
Leading the way were technology company Google Inc., the social media service Facebook and telecommunications giant AT&T: each has pledged a donation of US $1 million.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai made the announcement via Twitter: “Our hearts are with the people of Mexico after the devastating earthquake. We’re committing [US $1 million] to aid in recovery efforts.”
On Facebook, co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted: “My thoughts are with everyone affected by the earthquake in Mexico. Facebook is contributing $1 million to [the Mexican Red Cross] to support the relief efforts on the ground.”
He also reported that the social platform had partnered with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to waive fees on all donations for recovery efforts in Mexico made through Facebook.
“Thanks to everyone in our community who’s doing their part to help people recover.”
AT&T said its contribution would be directed through the non-profit organization Cenaced to aid rescue and recovery efforts. The firm is also creating a campaign through with its employees can donate and an option for customers to make donations with a text message.
The ride hailing service Uber México announced in its blog that it had made a 5-million-peso ($281,000) donation to the Mexican Red Cross, while the Carlos Slim Foundation has pledged to donate five pesos for every one-peso donation it receives.
Funds raised by the foundation will be channeled to relief and humanitarian efforts not only in Mexico City, Puebla and Morelos, the states that were the worst hit in the September 19 quake, but also in Oaxaca and Chiapas where reconstruction is only just beginning after an 8.1-magnitude earthquake on September 7.
Donations are being received under the name Fundación Carlos Slim to the Inbursa bank account 11111111111, or 036180111111111111 for inter-bank electronic transfers.
Telmex landline users can dial *5566 and charge their telephone account for contributions of 100, 200, 300 and 500 pesos.
Telcel mobile phone users on a monthly contract can also charge their account for the same amounts by sending a text message to the number 55666.
The Catholic Church has pledged an initial donation of $150,000, hinting there may be more to come, that will be used to provide aid to victims. It will be distributed through dioceses that have seen the worst of the earthquake damage, said the Vatican press office.
Mexican actress Salma Hayek has joined the fundraising movement by launching a fundraiser on CrowdRise, kicking it off with her own donation of $100,000.
“The people of my country have now suffered three natural disasters in a row. Many children and families are hurt and in terrible need. I’m contributing $100,000 now to UNICEF which has teams on the ground responding. Please join me and contribute what you can and thank you,” she wrote in English and Spanish.
Beer-maker Heineken International announced that its plant in Orizaba, Veracruz, has stopped putting beer in cans and replacing it with water, which is to be distributed free of charge wherever it is needed.
The company is working with the National Civil Protection System to deliver the water. It began last week in areas of Oaxaca and is scheduled to start today in Mexico City. Morelos and Puebla distribution will follow shortly.
Heineken México has also fitted out its distribution centers in Guerrero, Toluca, Querétaro and Morelos to receive donations of non-perishable foods, clothing, blankets, personal hygiene products, batteries, diapers and drugs.
Rival brewer Grupo Modelo has got on board by offering more than 400 trucks and their drivers to transport donated goods.
Walmart México has announced it will donate 300 tonnes of emergency supplies for distribution by the armed forces, and will match one-for-one purchases made by customers of goods to be donated.
In San Miguel de Allende musicians are pitching in Sunday to give a benefit concert for victims of the September 7 earthquake in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca. The five-hour A Oaxaca Con Amor (To Oaxaca With Love) concert begins at 4:00pm at MuVarte.
Tickets are 300 pesos and all admission proceeds will be donated. Concert-goers are also urged to take donations of goods that will be distributed directly to quake victims in Unión Hidalgo, Oaxaca, through a local non-profit organization.
Another contribution by Google is a special map of Mexico City that indicates the locations of fallen buildings, shelters, volunteer meeting points, hospitals and more.
The technology and search giant has also activated its Person Finder tool, which offers information about missing persons. It can also be updated to report on the status of those who have been found.