This week I read on BBC news that nine of Mexico’s famous earthquake rescue dogs are on their way to Turkey.
Those dogs, who search for buried people by scent, are best known for rescuing many people during the two Sept 2017 earthquakes in Mexico that killed about 400 people. Mexico is one of the most prone in the world to earthquakes since it is located along the ‘Pacific ring of fire”. You can read about the dogs, and see some charming photos of them, here on the BBC:
Almost forgotten in this story though are the ‘topos” or “moles” – the civilian group who arose as a band of youths who learned by trial and error how to burrow into the ruins of the 1985 Mexican earthquake that killed over 10,000 people. The “Brigada de Topos de Tlatelolco,” were named after the large apartment complex where they began their work in 1985 because no help was coming from government or international aid.
It is interesting that it was only after the 1985 earthquake, apparently due to the poor performance of the federal government, that the Mexican authorities began to take public rescue operations seriously. And that may be because 1985 also began their move into authentic democracy, with free and fair elections. Realizing how ineffective their largely authoritarian goverment was, Mexicans began to demand something better.
Meanwhile, the “Topos” have continued their work ever since, going to earthquake sites around the world, and others like the 911 collapse of the Twin Towers. Fortunately the BBC article does mention that they have offered their help too, and are now also on the way to Turkey. If you would like to read more about them, including their famous 1985 rescue of the “miracle babies” from the ruins of the Hospital Juarez, here is my previous post about that:
Rescuing History | Mexico City and the 1985 Earthquake | the Mole Brigade and the Miracle Babies