People in North Texas with connections to Mexico are keeping a close eye on what’s happening to friends and family one day after a deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake.
Francisco de la Torre Galindo is the Dallas-based Mexican Consul General. He experienced the devastating earthquake of 1985 and said it was shocking to see the same thing happen again. The central Mexican earthquake killed at least 223 people across the country.
“I never thought I would see again those scenes in Mexico City that I remember from my childhood,” Galindo said.
The Mexican government's number one priority is search and rescue. Then it will evaluate the scope of the damage, and move to recovery.
“If you want to help Mexico, you can make a donation not to the Mexican government, but to the institutions like the Red Cross,” said Francisco De La Torre Galindo, Consul General of Mexico.
At the Guadalupe Cathedral in downtown Dallas on Wednesday, there were prayers.
“You start to really see how humanity binds together as one race,” said Jerin Thenayan.
Jesus Chairez, who spoke to FOX4 via Skype, is a retired United States federal employee who moved to Mexico City in 2008. He'd just exited the subway Tuesday when he heard the earthquake sirens sound.
“When the earthquake alarms come on, you have 60 seconds to seek shelter, but not this time. The alarms came on and the whole earth was moving,” Chairez said.
Chairez lives in the central district where the damage was fairly minimal and fortunately, his friends and family are all accounted for -- but he's working through the emotional toll.
“It was very, very scary. It was like you are afraid to move,” Chairez said. “What's going to fall? Is the earth going to open up?”
Eudiel Celaya is from Mexico City but moved to North Texas seven years ago. He is understandably rattled by the devastating images emerging from his hometown.
“I go to social media, Twitter, Facebook. I saw all the postings,” he said. “I tried to call, but no lines in Mexico City.”
Celaya tried frantically for hours to get a hold of his sister and mother in Mexico City. He finally reached them through a messaging app on Wednesday morning and found them to be okay.
“I want to be there. I want to help,” Celaya said. “I want to be with my family to hug my mom, my grandmother and help the community, help the people.”
Celaya shared photographs of some of the damage done to his friend's apartment. Tiles and shelves came off the walls, exposing the brick that managed to hold the building together.
Celaya, who was just in Mexico City last weekend to visit his family, is grateful for the prayers and says Mexico needs all the love and help it can get.
There were tears and reunions at DFW Airport on Wednesday as people who were visiting were finally able to evacuate and make it back home -- but not before spending a long and stressful night at the airport in Mexico City.
Antonio and Maria Torres were on a bus to the airport in Mexico City trying to get back home to Garland when the earthquake hit.
"The bus was rocking back and forth, the bus driver had to let off the gas and let go of the steering wheel because it kept rocking back and forth, thought it was going to tip over according to him,” said the couple’s son, Cesar Tores.
Torres said he knew his parents were in danger.
“I felt panic at the moment got a call from my brother and he was panicking too, tried to get a hold of them but couldn't reach them,” Torres said.
Karla Porras missed her flight to her home in Puebla, Mexico on Tuesday. Soon after that, photos of the devastation began popping up on social media. She would likely have been in the air as the earthquake was happening.
She says she's saddened by the destruction, the deaths and the injuries. But she’s pleased to see everyone coming together to help -- even taxi cabs are giving free rides to the hospitals.