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Survivors of 1985 Earthquake Recall Haunting Memories

2 years 10 months 1 week ago Wednesday, September 20 2017 Sep 20, 2017 September 20, 2017 4:59 PM September 20, 2017 in News

REYNOSA – Images of the destruction from the earthquake in central Mexico brings back memories for those who survived the a deadly earthquake more than 30 years ago.

Two survivors of the 1985 earthquake, who now live in Reynosa, see parallels between the natural disasters that happened 32 years apart to the day.

One is the deadly silence in the streets; the other is the solidarity of the Mexican people.

The images from Sept. 19, 1985 are eerily similar to what we're seeing today in Mexico City and surrounding areas.

Salvador Moya worked for Televisa in Mexico City back then. He said he woke up to his apartment violently shaking that morning. 

“I couldn't walk because I was just bouncing side to side. I reached the window and I saw the cars on the street bouncing like balls on the street,” he recalled.

Moya knew he had to get to work as soon as possible. His assignment that day was to get as much footage of the destruction as possible. He said the memories still haunt him today.

“I realized there was not any sound on the streets. Nothing. There was deadly silence,” Moya described.

It's possible Moya may have crossed paths that day with another man now living in Reynosa. Enrique Pliego said he remembers seeing a chaotic scene outside the Televisa studios.

“At a distance, I saw a big dust cloud and I knew the Channel 5 tower had collapsed. Those were moments of terror, a lot of fear,” he said.

Pliego is from Mexico City. He remembers the rumble of buildings collapsing and the adrenaline it pumped into his veins.

“I just started running towards Ninos Heros Street and I saw the roof collapse over the students at the school,” he recalled.

Pliego said everyday citizens were the ones organizing the search and rescue efforts back then.

Like Moya, the deadly silence after the quake still haunts him.

“There weren’t too many sirens or emergency vehicles because we didn't have seismic alerts,” he said. “I just heard the sound of the buildings collapsing. But after that, there was just total silence.”

Both men said they are proud to see the same resilience of Mexican citizens during this tragedy. They can only pray the death toll of the 2017 quake doesn't climb as high as the one three decades ago.

Both men believe Mexico was more prepared for this earthquake.

Many buildings were built sturdier and there are seismic alert systems all over city. First responders are now trained in search and rescue. In addition, there's the element of social media which is proving to be key in getting people relief.

More than 10,000 people died in the earthquake in 1985. The death toll in Central Mexico currently stands at 223 and continues to rise.

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