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Aftershock Hits Mexico Amid Cleanup From Earlier Quake

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

It's been five days since Mexico was rocked by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Search and rescue efforts continue there. Alarms sounded again yesterday as another earthquake hit. That's the third earthquake there in under three weeks. NPR's Carrie Kahn has been reporting from Mexico City this week. Carrie, thanks so much for joining us.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Oh, you're welcome.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I know - and I can hear that you're out on the streets of Mexico City in the Condesa neighborhood. Can you tell me what you're seeing?

KAHN: It's very, very sad around here. This is a neighborhood that you know very well.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I do.

KAHN: And it's got a lot of old architecture, old buildings and a lot of art deco buildings. And in the area that I am right now, just every other one seems to have major damage to it. I'm also sitting in a little park that has an art deco monument that's sort of emblematic of the area here. And it is now just covered with goods that people are bringing. This has become a distribution site. So I can see tons of buckets here. People are making boxes, and they're filling them up with water, with canned goods, with rice, with beans. And it's just a buzz of activity right now.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's the neighborhood where you live. And it used to be the neighborhood where I lived when I was based in Mexico City as NPR's correspondent. I'm curious - it is an area that is considered to be a hub of restaurants, of tourism, of the artistic scene. How has this impacted the community?

KAHN: It's really devastating, Lulu. And I'm sure if you walked around here and went to your old haunts and digs, you would find them, you know, covered with yellow tape or cordoned off. There's so many buildings that have major damage here. It's really sad. I was out on Friday night, which, you know, like, you can barely walk in the streets. There's so many clubs and restaurants and - it was empty. And lots of parts of the neighborhood are still dark. And so in the dark of the night, all you could see was the yellow tape cordoning off these buildings that need to be inspected. The one I'm sitting in front of right now has a major crack in it. And I think it's probably eight stories tall. It's really scary. People are on edge about whether there's going to be another aftershock, whether some are going to fall again. It's devastating to the neighborhood, and it's really sad.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I was reading in the Mexican press that there's been an appeal by some of the families standing outside some of these collapsed buildings that they desperately don't want heavy machinery to be taken in to go through the rubble after these search and rescue operations are called off because in the last earthquake in 1985, that massive earthquake in Mexico City, a lot of bodies and body parts ended up in the city's dump, and they don't want that to happen again. Are you seeing that? Are people talking about that at all?

KAHN: A big concern - relatives that are holding vigil outside these collapsed building sites hoping rescuers can get to some of their loved ones - are very anxious and on edge that rescue efforts are going to be pulled. And there's been demonstrations. There's been outcries. I've just talked to relatives that just saw that - the thought of the officials ending their search for their loved ones. So that's going to be a difficult time when that decision has to be made.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: NPR's Carrie Kahn speaking with us from La Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City. Thank you so much, and stay safe.

KAHN: Thanks for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF BRUCE COCKBURN SONG, "BONE ON BONE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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