Volunteers Face Dangerous Trip to Get Supplies to Mexico
HARLINGEN – Relief volunteers face dangerous highways and uncertainty as they collect supplies for the victims of Mexico's latest earthquake.
Mexico City and its surrounding areas were rocked by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake Tuesday leaving over 200 dead. Rio Grande Valley groups are now forming to send aid to the affected areas.
"During Harvey it was simpler," said Mahdi Shaheen, a member of the Islamic Center in Harlingen that is organizing relief.
When Hurricane Harvey tossed homes and flooded areas in Southeast Texas, the group delivered supplies to Rockport and other areas. This time they will collect money, not supplies.
"As a community it's easier for us to gather money,” she said.
Fewer groups in the Valley have emerged to send physical supplies to the earthquake than during Harvey. Those who travel by road to Mexico City do so in the face of U.S. travel warnings of carjackings, armed robbery and cartel activity.
"It's like rolling the dice," said retired FBI agent Arturo Fontes, who’s now a security consultant.
"One out of every three or five people get tagged and those people have to pay a fee to bring the merchandise into Mexico,” he said.
Cartels are behind those fees, said Fontes.
Even so, some groups are preparing deliveries. Staff and members of Lindos Momentos Adult Daycare gathered personal items, medicine, and food to send for relief.
"It'll help them a lot," said Maria Lozano at the daycare Friday.
The group said the supplies will be loaded on a truck and sent to the affected areas.