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Mexico City earthquake hits close to home for Utah woman

Posted at 6:47 PM, Sep 26, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - For Utahns who have family living in Central Mexico, it’s been difficult not knowing if loved ones survived last week’s powerful earthquake.

Claudia Vazquez spent hours waiting to hear from her brother in Mexico City after a devastating earthquake hit her home country.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake killed at least 250 people. Crews are still digging through rubble of collapsed buildings looking for victims.

“It's just devastating to see all that kind of stuff,” said Vazquez.

Vasquez was born and raised in Mexico City, and moved to Utah four years ago.  After the earthquake, she frantically tried to reach her family.

“My brother was at school, my sister was working and my mom was at home. My dad was working too, so I was like just wondering if they're OK,” Vasquez said.

Hours later, she received voice mail messages.

Claudia learned her brother’s school – The Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education was destroyed. Video from a local newspaper showed one of the buildings on campus crumbling as people ran for cover.

Claudia’s brother was in another building on the third floor.

“He just said that everything started to fall down. His only thoughts were I don't think I'm going to make it because everything was shaking. He saw the bridges collapse,” she said.

Her brother made it out safely, and helped move debris in buildings so others could escape.

Five people died and 40 people were injured in the school. Administrators held a memorial to honor the victims.

“This is one of six schools that are severely affected,” said Vazquez.

Seeing her people suffer weighs heavily on Claudia’s heart. She’s reached out to relatives by sending food, money and clothing to help. She knows it will be a long road to recovery.

“I just feel powerless. Being far away, it's kind of hard to help hands-on.”