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Two Mexico City earthquakes exactly 32 years apart. Two very different responses

Agustín Barrios Gómez

LA Times

At 22 million people, metropolitan Mexico City is the largest urban area in our hemisphere. As the capital of New Spain, it governed a massive empire, stretching from the Philippines to Utah. The symbol of the eagle and the snake, which is at the center of our flag and on the seal of the city of Los Angeles (on the lower left corner), commemorates its founding. It is a modern-day megalopolis with pyramids, cathedrals, skyscrapers, huge parks and frantic urban blight. Uber’s biggest urban market is a mecca for foodies and culture.

It is also in the center of a geological mosh pit.

On Sept. 19, 1985, an earthquake registering 8.1 on the Richter scale struck Mexico City. Partly because of inadequate building codes, the death toll reached upward of 20,000 people. Electricity, telephones, the airport, the subway — all were down for several days.

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