A day after Tuesday’s earthquake in Central Mexico, the street in front of the Red Cross clinic in downtown Guadalajara teamed with gesticulating and yelling workers and volunteers, one half a human conveyor belt rapidly transferring donations emptied from a constant stream of cars swiftly backing in and out of the donation point to an army of sorters beneath a massive tent stretching several hundred feet in the opposite direction.
Among the porters and sorters strode a loose assortment of organizers, chief among them Liliana Rodriguez, administrative director of the Red Cross in Guadalajara, harried and drawn but kind enough to take a minute to talk to The Reporter.
“Since the second earthquake, things took a 360-degree turn here,” said Rodriguez. “After the Chiapas earthquake, we didn’t receive a whole lot of donations and volunteers were scarce. But from 9 p.m. last night, we started receiving a ton of help.”
Asked to explain the public’s disproportionate responses to the two events, Rodriguez opted for tact.
“I think people had become a little desensitized to the problems [in Chiapas and Oaxaca] … but that’s not to say we aren’t still supporting them. We’re doing our best to help everyone who needs assistance in Mexico,” she said.
What the Red Cross most needs at the moment is non-perishable food such as beans, rice, canned vegetables and canned fish (sardines), according to Rodriguez, who parried further questions about demand for medical supplies, clothing and assorted equipment with the same two-word mantra: “non-perishable food.”
She stated ruefully that, in spite of the paramount need for food, the most common items that fill the Red Cross sorting bins are toilet paper and diapers.
About a mile to the north, not far from where Avenida Alcalde terminates at the La Normal glorieta, is the headquarters of DIF Jalisco, the quasi government agency responsible for meting out assistance to struggling families and the elderly.