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mexico city earthquake 1985 miracle babies

The "miracle babies" of Mexico City have been the poster children of survival for almost 25 years. Pediatricians say it’s not surprising that a dozen newborn babies survived for days under the wreckage of Mexico’s massive earthquake until pulled to safety. For the orphaned and rescued Haitian children, their plight is not without precedent. "We began receiving victims within hours, nine at first. The buildings most damaged were from 6 to 15 stories in height. June 29 – Argentina defeats West Germany 3–2 to win the 1986 World Cup in Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Every day, in the packed hallways and the sun-lit courtyard of the hospital, she greets many of those responsible for healing her and keeping her healthy after her rescue. He spends a lot of time in his bedroom with dark curtains over the window, listening to music. The most celebrated were the so-called miracle babies … Your donation directly supported the critical reporting you rely on, the consistent reporting you believe in, and the deep reporting you want to ensure survives. But his adoptive parents have not given up on the young man, who underwent half a dozen major surgeries to repair a knee, a hip and his crushed mouth and cheek. The ``miracle babies'' who survived in the rubble of collapsed hospitals after the Mexico City earthquake in 1985 now are 3-year-olds, thriving on special attention from doctors and relatives. Reportaje sobre el Terremoto del 19 de Septiembre de 1985 en la Gran Ciudad de MéxicoEntrevistan a Eduardo Saucedo y Mester, Rescate del Hospital Juarez Mexican newspapers are calling them ''miracle babies,'' and doctors can only guess at the reasons they survived at all. (Richard Sennott/GlobalPost), A hand-written list of the 16 newborn infants brought to the Children's Hospital, some within hours and some up to nine days after the Mexico City earthquake. At left, a Mexican miner hands down a miracle baby swaddled in a basket. Her 22-year-old husband, Alejandro Perez, who left Mexico a few months after the earthquake, now lives in New York, where he works in a restaurant and sends some money home to help support his family. This video documents the health problems and relief efforts in the aftermath of the earthquakes of September 19 and 20, 1985. The World is a public radio program that crosses borders and time zones to bring home the stories that matter. The rocks, the lack of water?” asks Victor Hugo Hernandez, now 24, who was born two days before the quake and later had both legs amputated. (Richard Sennott/GlobalPost), Rescue workers saved three girls from the ruins of the Benito Juarez Hospital in Mexico City seven days after the 8.1 earthquake. July. They are four babies who were buried alive just hours after their birth when the Juarez Hospital in central Mexico City collapsed during the first of two killer earthquakes last week. Abdelrahman Abdelaleem. The life of each “miracle baby” was turned upside down and inside out. I was a patient, and now it’s my turn to serve,” she says. One fateful night in Los Angeles, and an incident between police and a man named Rodney King eventually ignited the powder keg of civil unrest in Southern California, also known as the L.A. Doctors took one of his ribs and used that bone to rebuild his face. On September 19, 1985, at 7:18 in the morning, the residents of Mexico City were jolted awake by an 8.1-magnitude earthquake, one of the strongest to ever hit the area. The survivors would be known as the "miracle babies" but most of the trapped infants only lived a few hours past their births. The Miracle of Baby Jesus, Rescued during the 1985 Mexico City Earthquake. Both infants are now hospitalized doing … November 26, on the STS-61-B mission Rodolfo Neri Vela became the first Mexican and second Latin American astronaut to reach into space. “One is destined for something,” she says. Araceli was always a good student and her mother used trust fund money to help send her to a private school for several years. The LIII Legislature Congress of Mexico begins its inauguration. More than four hundred buildings collapsed. Some are unemployed. But, at 24, she no longer aspires to join the Mexican women’s national team, recognizing she is too old to join a major team. There were voices. Babies survived up to 9 days after the quake (the 22 miracle babies) Cite. He worked for awhile at a gas station, but also at times has been “desperately unemployed,” says Leonardo. Many, their mothers killed by the collapsing buildings, were taken in by aunts, uncles and grandparents. Mexico City: Thousands of people died in an earthquake that devastated Mexico City on September 19, 1985, but heroes and miraculous survivors emerged from the tragedy. Thirty years later, it's no exaggeration to say that the disaster remains a vivid memory, but one story of a miracle baby stands out. Cuevas said another factor contributing to the babies` survival was the layer of special fat beneath the skin of newborns, which probably helped insulate them during the cool, rainy nights and supplied them with calories during the day. They would ask, ‘How do you feel?’ Children are very cruel sometimes.” Juana was born one day before the earthquake. Some have done well, others have not. Two of the fathers survived. Cuevas said the babies ''were probably asleep most of the time,'' or in a state of semi-hibernation. At right, doctors and other medical personnel triage and work to stabilize the baby. “It was a great miracle.". "I lived it. Petite, usually wearing tight jeans and with her nails sporting bright acrylics, Araceli is known to everyone in the Children’s Hospital, where she has worked for two years as a lab technician. A team of doctors, nurses and social workers has cared for them all these years. Eventually, a search dog barked and another woman, apparently trapped nearby, yelled for help. These buildings tended to resonate most with the energetic frequency band of the lakebed motions. They spent the first week of their lives buried beneath hundreds of tons of rubble without food or water, and they are doing just fine. The still unfolding stories of dramatic rescues in Haiti — of life emerging from the ruins — bring back vivid memories of Mexico City a quarter century ago. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree. In many damaged buildings, just one floor had collapsed. (John Enders/GlobalPost), A party at the Children's Hospital for the "miracle babies" for their second birthday. Between Mexico City and the epicenter 250 miles to the southwest lie the Sierra Madre mountains dotted with remote towns. The effects of the quake were particularly devastating because of the type of ground upon which the city sits. Rescue workers saved three girls from the ruins of the Benito Juarez Hospital in Mexico City seven days after the 8.1 earthquake. But I don't remember it.". By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies and Privacy Policy. That figure was widely disregarded by the media, however, and contrasted sharply with the official report from the Mexico City Police Department, which said 4,722 bodies had been recovered. MEXICO CITY, Mexico — The world came to know them as the "miracle babies" of Mexico City, more than a dozen infants pulled from rubble after the devastating 1985 earthquake. July 2 – Walt Disney Pictures releases the company's 26th animated film, The Great Mouse Detective. Today, he is a freelance journalist specializing in Latin America. She later she obtained a scholarship to college, where she studied biology and chemistry as part of a pharmaceutical program. People died. First-time (Courtesy of the hospital), Group picture from September 2000 of most of the surviving "miracle babies," then 15, and their doctors and nurses, taken at the Children's Hospital where they have received treatment, counseling and other support for years. Of the 16 infants who were taken to the hospital, 14 would survive. Some babies escaped physically unscathed by the quake, while others would grapple with lifelong disabilities. “I haven’t found my destiny yet.”, Hortensia Hernandez was breastfeeding her baby, born just one hour before, when the earthquake struck. PRX is a 501(c)(3) organization recognized by the IRS: #263347402. Milagros suffered mostly cuts and bruises, but she also is missing the third knuckle on her left hand from a crushed bone that never developed. The Mexico City earthquake was the most catastrophic in the country's history. (Courtesy of the hospital), Areceli Santamaria Romo speaks with a co-worker at the in-house pharmacy where she works at the Children's Hospital in Mexico City. “He says, ‘I don’t know why God didn’t just take me then,’” Leonardo says. When he returned, he says, as he choked down tears from the memory of it: “They said, ‘he lives, he lives.’ It was amazing.”, Jesus, who refused to talk to a reporter about his life, left school early to work so he could help the family. At least 106 people shot, 14 fatally, in Chicago weekend violence, Watch live: Gov. An eight-story structure wrenched from its foundation by the Sept. 19, 1985, earthquake in Mexico City. “For me, soccer is everything. The story you just read is freely available and accessible to everyone because readers like you support The World financially. To learn more, review our Cookie Policy. "He’s the only son we had.”. ''A newborn baby is more water than anything else,'' said Dr. Alys Mae Holden, a Mexico City pediatrician. One public hospital completely collapses. He is impulsive and has an explosive temper, says the older man sadly. For them, reminders of the catastrophe are everywhere. She was born at the Juarez Hospital on Sept. 17, 1985, and arrived at the Children’s Hospital with a broken left ankle, a severe laceration over her left eye and multiple abrasions. The Nunez baby isn't very old; she was born just a short time before two earthquakes devastated parts of this capital, including the hospital where she first came into the world. All the “miracle babies,” like other Mexicans, are today left to cope with a national economic crisis, low wages and high unemployment, and a drug-related crime wave. “People tell me that I take life very seriously. Their lot in life, and their challenges, are not unlike those facing the children and adults rescued in Haiti in recent weeks. “Why keep studying? “He has physical problems with his legs. She had four children and didn’t want more. Each had to deal with the tragedy of their infanthood, the cuts, bruises, crushed limbs and bones, and the emotional trauma that started on that September day almost 25 years ago. We couldn’t have done it without your support. But she believes in fate. J.B. Pritzker gives a coronavirus update, After Twitter outcry, 5 women detail Chris D’Elia’s alleged sexual improprieties. The first quake hit at 7:17 a.m. Juarez Hospital and General Hospital — the two biggest maternity centers for Mexico City’s poor and working-class residents — were among the hardest hit. The Children’s Hospital, next door to the General Hospital, somehow escaped major structural damage and the rescued children began arriving there almost immediately. “We don’t have any inheritance to give her. “It was a second chance, to have a second life,” she says. Richard Sennott photographed the earthquake aftermath for the Boston Herald. “The next day, many voices faded away.”. Perhaps as many as 20 times as many people died in Haiti as in Mexico City, and the Haiti quake brought an entire country to its knees, while Mexico’s economy, infrastructure and society appeared far more resilient. She and Cuevas said that because the infants had only primitive vision and no sense of being in danger, they were unlikely to suffer any lasting psychological trauma. With both of his thighs strapped into prostheses and a warm smile on his face, Victor Hernandez has grown up with strength, grace and optimism. “We don’t have children," says Leonardo. The infants embodied a stubborn determination to hold on to life, a symbol of human resiliency amid disaster. She said that a fasting baby with its movements restricted would expend about 50 calories a day, which would represent a fluid loss of 3.2 ounces. Three of the four have lost their mothers; one was found lying on her dead mother`s breast. https://www.pri.org/stories/2010-02-05/miracle-babies-mexico-city-25-years-later She later named her baby Milagros Guadalupe for the milagro, or miracle, and the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint. Sundays are sacred,” Claudia says. They are four babies who were buried alive just hours after their birth when the Juarez Hospital in central Mexico City collapsed during the first of two killer earthquakes last week. On this day in 1985, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake rocked Mexico City and its surrounding environs at 9:17 a.m. EDT (7:17 a.m. local time). With more than 10,000 dead, the newborns — some not rescued until days after the quake — gave hope to a shocked nation. There are doctors, college graduates driving taxis all over Mexico.”, “She was always underweight,” says Norma Lucia Vinas, the team's other doctor, about Araceli Santamaria Romo, who is perhaps the most outwardly successful of the “ninos del sismo.”. At least six infants, five girls and a boy, have been pulled from the debris of two hospitals. In som… The last was in 2000 and was a sort of coming-of-age for the boys and a group “quinceanera” for the girls, all of whom were turning 15. The a baby girl and beat out bolsa S born last Thursday just minutes before the earthquake. It was the biggest natural disaster in decades, in the most densely populated city in the hemisphere. Most of the earthquake damage was to buildings. The 7.1 earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12 was far smaller than the 8.1 quake in Mexico, but the magnitude of the catastrophe has been far greater. Claudia graduated from high school and now works in a factory that makes kitchen appliances. Araceli says that the fame of the “miracle babies” has nothing to do with them, but rather is about what they symbolize. He is resentful, he thinks life is unfair.”. “Life for them has not been easy.” The hospital never issued a report on the miracle babies to protect their privacy, he said. They seem now to represent not just hope, but proof that, while the scars of the tragedy would forever alter their lives, the people of Mexico City eventually would recover from the devastation. Araceli was born the day before the quake and rescuers took her to the Children’s Hospital within hours of the disaster. But her life revolves around soccer. The 1985 Mexico City earthquake, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake that struck Mexico City on the early morning of 19 September 1985 at around 7:19 am (CST), caused the deaths of at least 10,000 people and serious damage to the Greater Mexico City Area. In addition, she said, babies require little fluid during the first days of life, and normal babies tend to lose 10 percent of their body weight during their first 10 days. The rest is a miracle.''. The 8.1-magnitude quake struck Mexico City on Sept. 19, 1985, followed by a 7.5-magnitude aftershock one day later. A couple in Mexico City are celebrating the “miracle” birth of their son, whose arrival coincided with Tuesday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Hundreds were killed, including doctors, nurses, orderlies and their patients — mothers and their tiny newborns. As Mexico marks 30 years since the 8.1-magnitude temblor on Saturday, here are the stories of a baby pulled out of the rubble, a surgeon still working despite losing four … But it didn’t start out that way. More than 10,000 people were killed, 30,000 were injured, and large parts of the city were destroyed. “I never married. She refers to the doctors, nurses and others at the Children’s Hospital as “my other family.”, “It has all made me think that we live for something,” she says. People were yelling, crying out, asking for help,” she says, repeating what her mother has told her over the years. The Associated Press MEXICO CITY — The "Miracle Children" are children no more. Remarkably, all but one of the buried infants lost exactly the right amount of weight. “As babies, how did we survive all we did? All came from humble beginnings. Her mother, Maria de Jesus Romo, was in another part of the hospital when the temblor hit and was rescued two days after her daughter. 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Milagros Guadalupe Hernandez during a visit to the Children's Hospital. 39 min FEB 22, 2019 What You Didn't Know About the Miracle Babies of the Deadly 1985 Mexico City Earthquake They were in the maternity section of the General Hospital, and rescuers found them four days later. Her aunts have sacrificed a lot by taking Claudia into their home. The fourth, known only by her mother`s names, Hernandez Sandoval, has a 95 percent chance of survival, although she suffered severe injuries to her left foot. Among the most remarkable rescues was that of 58 newborn babies, pulled alive from the wreckage of a maternity ward three days after the earthquake struck. Earthquakes are worse in mountains which of vibrate more than flat land. The 8.1 earthquake on September 19, 1985 brought death and destruction to Mexico City on a scale beyond the previous experience of its residents. Araceli, who calls herself an atheist, says she does not believe in miracles. She died, and for five days her child, one arm and ribs crushed and with a severe head injury, lay jammed into a dirty, rat-infested space hardly bigger than a shoebox. When Jesus sees newscasts of the devastation in Haiti on the television, he quickly turns the channel. Claudia Isabel Rios lives in the working-class Mexico City neighborhood of Azcapotzalco, where unemployment and burgeoning street crime are the biggest concerns for most residents. “When we started school, everyone knew us. Hortensia by then could not speak. Foreign donors provided funds to pay for their medical care and even their education. Over the next eight days or so seven more arrived," says Dina Villanueva, a neo-natologist who headed the team of doctors, nurses and social workers that began caring for them. She is married and has a 5-year-old son. She is enough,” says her aunt Hortensia Juarez. I feel we have to take advantage of every minute.”. “The hardest thing was seeing videos of 1985 every September in school,” says Juana Jazmin Arias. Rescue teams from France, the United States and other countries, and dozens of volunteers from Mexico City’s devastated neighborhoods, including family members of the victims, dug for days looking for survivors. Her mother was crushed, held down by the debris, and could not move even to feed her. It is a daily reminder to her, she says, of the disaster. “To me, it’s like paying the hospital back. Her favorite is ``Speedy Gonzalez,'' or was, before she broke the record and pulled the cartridge out of the turntable arm. The babies were identified by the hospital wrist bracelets attached after birth. Jesus Francisco was born four days before the quake, but he and his mother had remained in the General Hospital so she could undergo a hysterectomy. Her aunts, both of whom she calls “mom,” and her uncle “filled a big hole for me.”. They were in a room on the sixth floor, and she had just gone downstairs for something when the earth shook. The miracle of baby Jesus, rescued during the 1985 Mexico City earthquake Jesus Francisco (center), one of the so-called "miracle children" who survived the Sept. 19, … The 8.0 magnitude earthquake hits. The babies weighed an average of just over 5 pounds at birth. So she shared her saliva with the baby and “prayed and prayed” to the Virgin of Guadalupe. She started playing in the streets with an all-boys neighborhood team at age 5, and since 17 she has played on an all-female team called the Pumas, or Panthers. Every morning, the editorial team at public radio’s international news show The World meets to plan what they'll cover that day. One interesting characteristic was that many buildings had their upper floors collapse, leaving the lower floors relatively undamaged. 2nd Aug, 2019. John Enders covered the aftermath of the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City for the Oregonian newspaper. The rescuers, helped by family members who spent days digging at the devastated hospital building, eventually found Hortensia and Milagros, but they never found the other woman. ''I think that is part of the answer, that a fasting baby does not lose much,'' Holden said. He wants to get a good job and get married. Milagros doesn’t like the name, thinking it pretentious, and goes by “Lupita.” (The two Hernandez families are not related. They, like 400 other buildings throughout the city, simply collapsed. All were trapped for four to seven days, yet suffered only minor injuries. But being alive is better than being dead. I was relating to my daughter-in-law the story about the newborn babies that survived the collapse of the hospitals where they were born after a devastating earthquake struck Mexico City in 1985. ''It is really little more than a ball of water.''. His aunt Graciela Rodriguez and her husband Leonardo — who later became Jesus’ adopted parents — waited for days outside the hospital for news. The complete seismic event consisted of four quakes. She had 37 broken bones, including her pelvis. “The life he has, he has won,” says Leonardo. We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. Her mother’s body was never found. To look at the "ninos" today as they approach a quarter century of life is to see a reflection of the hopes and dreams, some fulfilled and some dashed, of the Mexican people. In the early years, the hospital provided free, government-paid medical and dental care, including multiple internal and reconstructive surgeries, for the babies. A pre-event quake of magnitude 5.2 occurred on 28 May 1985. The mother of the fourth baby is missing and thought to be dead. The two who later died are marked in yellow. 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