Mexico’s massive earthquake sends Sacramento expats scrambling for info on relatives

The killer 8.1-magnitude earthquake that struck about 100 miles off the Mexican coast of Chiapas sent many in Northern California’s large expat population scrambling for news Friday.

Liliana Ferrer, Mexican consul general in Sacramento, said the Mexican government has restored power to more than 1 million Mexicans who lost it after the late Thursday quake, along with water and telephone services.

“But people are concerned, people are worried about their families,” Ferrer said, and many Northern California residents have been unable to reach relatives in Oaxaca, where a hotel in Matías Romero had collapsed and least 25 people died by noon Friday.

“It’s the strongest earthquake to hit Mexico in at least 100 years,” she noted, adding that there have been over 260 aftershocks and that classes were canceled in 11 states.

Dinorah Klingler, a Sacramento entertainer from Mexico, said she’d been able to reach her brother in Mexico City, “but we don’t have news yet about our uncles and other family members in Oaxaca. The city they live in was not as damaged as central Oaxaca.”

Klingler remembers riding to middle school on the subway in Mexico City in 1985 when the Sept. 19 quake killed at least 5,000 people.

“When that happened, I thought the whole city was going to come down,” she said.

Ferrer, whose consulate encompasses 1 million people of Mexican origin in 24 California counties, said Thursday’s quake did the most damage in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Veracruz and Puebla. The four states are home to roughly 10 percent of the Mexican immigrants living in Central and Northern California, the territory served by the consulate.

Those trying to track down their relatives in Mexico can call the following numbers, Ferrer said:

The general emergency number for consulates across America is 855-463-6395, Ferrer said.

“They can obtain information 24-7 of all sorts concerning the earthquake, and we will have the ability to transfer callers to the proper authorities,” she said.

Those trying to reach the Sacramento consulate directly to offer assistance or get more information can call the community affairs office at 916-329-3542, Ferrer said.

Stephen Magagnini: 916-321-1072, @SteveMagagnini