Disaster Recovery Update: Mexico, Caribbean

In September 2017, Hurricane Irma quickly became the strongest recorded Atlantic hurricane ever, with wind speed - and consequential destruction - rivaling that of a tornado. As it pummeled Caribbean islands, many communities were so damaged that they had to completely evacuate, as in the case of Barbuda. Only a few weeks later, Hurricane Maria followed Irma's path, knocking out power and road access to many parts of Puerto Rico.

During the same month, two earthquakes devastated the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, and then in the Mexico City area. The two earthquakes reduced dozens of buildings to piles of rubble and damaged countless others. The first, which struck the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, was Mexico's strongest earthquake in a century, with powerful aftershocks that were felt for days.

See more: PADF Damage Assessment Photos of Post-Earthquake Oaxaca.

PADF has been orchestrating strategic disaster response since its conception in 1962. We have responded to over 70 of the hemisphere's worst disasters in the last 50+ years. When determining our response to these disasters, we take a number of different criteria into account: How can PADF best serve the most vulnerable affected individuals and communities? Will the solution be sustainable and practical? What practices can we employ that will help communities become more resilient than before the disaster, thereby reducing their risk for future disasters?

PADF's Response

Juchitán, Mexico. After an initial assessment of the earthquake's damage, we are supporting Centro de Atención Múltiple No.8 (C.A.M. No.8) in Juchitán with our reconstruction effort. C.A.M. No.8 is a school that serves students with disabilities and has been instrumental in raising awareness to the need of inclusion of these disadvantaged students in society. Certain damaged areas of the school are at higher risk of crumbling and must be replaced. PADF is helping the school with demolition of damaged infrastructure, replacing water tanks, repairing utilities and, most importantly, rebuilding the main classrooms and therapy room. Our focus is helping to restore normal routines for the students, thereby keeping them in school and advancing their education.

Mexico City area, Mexico. The PepsiCo Foundation has donated $500,000 to be used in the Mexico City area, which has a metro population of over 21 million. PADF has conducted on-the-ground assessments of the damage. We will keep all stakeholders informed as the ground assessment informs our response.

Puerto Rico. PADF has focused on Puerto Rico as a geographic for intervention, given its long list of complex post-disaster needs. In Puerto Rico, we are working with local and international stakeholders to identify our area of intervention. The PepsiCo Foundation has also supported the disaster response in Puerto Rico by donating $500,000 to be pooled with individual contributions.

We will post updates as recovery efforts develop in each of these areas. Thank you again for your donation and for supporting post-crisis communities. With your help, we will support the most vulnerable people in these areas, seeking to make their communities safer and more disaster resilient than ever.

Photos: Damage Assessment from Post-Earthquake Oaxaca

Seven weeks have passed since a magnitude 8.1 earthquake shook the southern Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.

The earthquake was Mexico's strongest in a century. Nearly 100 people died and hundreds more were injured as a result. Buildings across the region were reduced to piles of rubble, and infrastructure has sustained great damage.

PADF is responding to the disaster in southern Mexico, monitoring local needs.

We recently assessed damage in and around Juchitán, Oaxaca, Mexico. Problems in Juchitán are particularly evident - remnants of buildings, now piles of rubble, line street corners. Airports, hospitals, hotels, businesses and public services are still shut down. But the damage goes deeper.

Before the earthquake, a municipal building occupied this area. It was completely destroyed. The remaining yellow building, a market, has also been severely damaged.


This building was completely dislodged from its foundation, dropping into the banks of a river.

fallen house.JPG

Structural damage has prevented many businesses and public services from reopening.

falling roof.JPG

The earthquake also destroyed residences, leaving many people homeless.

mexico rubble.JPG

Under closer examination, many buildings that appear unaffected show signs of severe structural damage.

Below, crooked closet frames expose a sloping floor.

crooked doors.JPG

Cracks in the foundation make buildings more vulnerable to long-term damage and future earthquakes.


Cleanup crews are still working to remove rubble.

BBC News: Who cleans up after hurricanes, earthquakes and war?


Local workers clear rubble from urban streets.


Much of the rubble has been temporarily dumped on the sides of nonresidential streets.

Juchitán will face a major recovery effort, as this material must be dealt with.


PADF is responding to the recent earthquakes in Mexico. We are collecting donations to help hardest-hit earthquake victims recover and rebuild what they lost. To help the recovery of Juchitán and the area, please make a contribution.

More PADF Projects in Mexico:

PepsiCo Foundation Donates to PADF $1 Million for Disaster Recovery in Puerto Rico & Mexico

Washington, DC (October 25, 2017) - The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) has received a donation of $1 million dollars from the PepsiCo Foundation to support post-disaster community recovery efforts in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

“Our neighbors in Mexico and the Caribbean have endured immense suffering,” says Katie Taylor, Executive Director of PADF. “We mourn with each person affected by these horrific disasters. PADF is committed to restoring lost livelihoods and economic opportunities, improving access to safe shelters and clean drinking water, and helping communities to get back on their feet.” She adds, “PADF is proud to work side by side with the people of Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the PepsiCo Foundation. Together we will build stronger communities that are capable of bouncing back more quickly from future disasters.”

On September 7 and September 19, earthquakes with a magnitude of 8.2 and 7.1 shook Mexico, killing more than 350 people and toppling buildings in Oaxaca, Morelos, Puebla, Guerrero and Mexico City. Vital infrastructure, including schools, marketplaces, healthcare facilities, roads, and homes sustained damage. On September 21, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to strike the US territory in 90 years. Winds exceeded 155 miles per hour and toppled power lines and cellphone towers, paralyzed transportation, decimated farmers’ crops, and caused damage to vital tourism infrastructure and services. One month after the hurricane, a majority of the island’s 3.4 million residents are still without sufficient food, water, and power.

“The massive scale of these disasters has created extremely complex challenges that will require long-term, comprehensive community recovery and reconstruction strategies,” said Liza Mantilla, Director of Disaster Management at PADF. “The destruction in many areas has been catastrophic. We are grateful for the compassion and commitment that PepsiCo Foundation has extended to our neighbors in need.” The work of PADF will focus on restoring livelihoods, access to good nutrition and safe water, and resilient community services in Puerto Rico and underserved areas of Oaxaca and Morelos.

PepsiCo stands in solidarity with the communities affected by these events. PepsiCo Chairperson and CEO Indra K. Nooyi affirms, “PepsiCo is committed to supporting our communities in a time of need. Over the past week, we’ve offered that support once more, working closely with relief organizations in Mexico, the Caribbean, and the United States to help communities devastated by recent natural disasters.” She adds, “We stand with the people of Mexico City, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean as they begin the work of recovering and rebuilding.” The PepsiCo Foundation has dedicated more than $6.5 million for disaster relief and recovery in the last month.

The Pan American Development Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that brings together diverse partners and community stakeholders to strengthen economic opportunities, civil society engagement, democracy and human rights, and local capabilities to prepare for and respond to disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean. Established 1962 by the Organization of American States (OAS), PADF has over five decades of experience building stronger, more resilient communities in every country in the region. During the past decade, PADF initiatives have enabled 92 million people to enjoy improved security and quality of life. For more information, visit

Dart Foundation Promotes STEM Education Training for Indigenous Teachers in Mexico

Tijuana, Mexico (April, 5, 2017) — With a grant from the Dart Foundation, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) supports programs to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in schools in Mexico, particularly those that serve indigenous students.

PADF worked with Wiser Education, a publisher and consulting firm in Mexico, to train elementary school teachers in Baja and Mexico states in STEM education techniques. The project emphasized working with teachers in indigenous language schools to build their capacity to teach science and introduce basic concepts of robotics and programing in elementary education.

“We are committed to inspiring students to pursue careers in STEM education,” says Emily Matthews, Manager of the Dart Foundation. “By giving teachers in Mexico the tools to teach these subjects, we are helping to equip today’s youth with the skills needed to compete in a global economy.”

Last week, 60 public school teachers received graduation certificates for completing 120 hours of coursework including lab activities, presentations and technology training for elementary education. At graduation ceremonies in Tijuana and Atlacomulco, teachers demonstrated new skills. They shared comments from students like Hannia Gonzalez of Tijuana, Baja California, who wrote: “We had a class about the aerospace industry and as part of the activities we designed and built three different paper airplanes. I loved the experience of being an aerospace engineer and I hope to build real airplanes one day.”

While school enrollment rates in the region have improved in recent years, Latin American students continue to rank in the bottom third worldwide in math, reading and science, according to the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey. PADF and partners identified a need for improved STEM resources in Mexico, where students earn the lowest math scores of all countries monitored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In science, 48 percent of Mexican students are considered low achievers.

The regional Secretariats of Education of the state of Mexico (SEIEM) and the state of Baja California (SEE) were very supportive of the project and assisted teachers in and registering teachers for the courses.

“Teachers have a key role to play in transforming the national educational system,” said Iván Marín Rodríguez, deputy director of Institutional Relationships at Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Education. “We are working to adapt to the challenges of the digital era in the twenty-first century.”

The STEM training financed by the Dart Foundation is part of PADF’s regional public-private initiative called STEM in the Americas, which is working in Latin America and the Caribbean to inspire the next generation of science and technology students. In addition to Mexico, PADF has active STEM projects in Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

For more information, visit

Alianza Multisectorial Lanza Campaña para Reducir el Trabajo Infantil en México

Read in English

Ciudad de México, México (24 de octubre, 2016) – El Gobierno de México y socios del sector privado y sociedad civil, junto con la actriz y cantante mexicana Maite Perroni lanzaron hoy la campaña nacional “Todos Contra el Trabajo Infantil” en el Papalote Museo del Niño, que busca sensibilizar a los jóvenes sobre el tema del trabajo infantil. Entre los socios claves de esta nueva iniciativa figuran la Fundación Panamericana para el Desarrollo (PADF), la Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social (STPS), la Fundación Telefónica México, la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT), la Oficina Económica y Cultural de Taipéi en México y el Instituto Mexicano de la Juventud (IMJUVE).

Esta iniciativa tiene como objetivo apoyar las acciones emprendidas por el gobierno para reducir el trabajo infantil en la sociedad mexicana. Asimismo, se pretende capacitar a los jóvenes para invitarlos a convertirse en agentes de cambio, promover un mayor acceso a la educación entre los niños y adolescentes, y sensibilizar al público sobre el trabajo infantil para ayudar en su erradicación.

"La infancia es una etapa crítica en la vida de cada persona, y una de las bases fundamentales de nuestra sociedad. Como mexicanos, debemos trabajar juntos para crear un ambiente donde los niños puedan sentirse seguros, donde tengan oportunidades para asistir a la escuela y aprender, y en el que podamos ayudarlos a convertirse en individuos productivos en sus comunidades", señaló Maite Perroni, portavoz de la campaña y embajadora de buena voluntad de la Fundación Panamericana para el Desarrollo.

Esta Campaña apoyará los esfuerzos que ya está realizando el Gobierno de México para erradicar el trabajo infantil. Hoy en día, más de 2,5 millones de niños y adolescentes entre las edades de 5 y 17 continúan siendo afectados por el trabajo infantil, según el Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI). 

"El Gobierno de México está comprometido a erradicar el trabajo infantil", señaló el Mtro. Ignacio Rubí Salazar, Subsecretario de Previsión Social de la Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social. "A través de esta iniciativa queremos seguir concientizando a la gente para cambiar las percepciones sobre el trabajo infantil y para ello se necesita del apoyo de los padres, las comunidades, los empleadores, y toda la sociedad. En particular, hacemos un llamado especial a las y los jóvenes para que  se sumen a este esfuerzo nacional y difundan el mensaje de que las niñas y niños deben ir a la escuela, No a trabajar". 

Con el fin de involucrar a la juventud, la campaña realizará encuentros de jóvenes en los estados de Campeche, Tabasco y Puebla para capacitar a estudiantes universitarios y jóvenes de las redes de IMJUVE sobre esta problemática e invitarlos a transformarse en agentes de cambio en sus comunidades. Los encuentros se llevarán a cabo en las siguientes sedes: Universidad Autónoma de Campeche (25 de octubre), Universidad Olmeca en Tabasco (27 de octubre) y la Universidad Iberoamericana de Puebla (28 de octubre).

"En Fundación Telefónica creemos que una educación de calidad, sostenida y sostenible es una estrategia efectiva para disminuir los índices de trabajo infantil en Latinoamérica. Durante 13 años de gestión del programa Proniño en 14 países de América Latina, hemos beneficiado a 488.084 niñas, niños y adolescente a través de la escolarización para contribuir a erradicar el trabajo infantil”, señaló Nidia Chavéz Montiel, Subdirectora de Fundación Telefónica México.

"Un niño que trabaja, es un niño que no tiene tiempo para estudiar. Una niña que trabaja no tiene tiempo libre para disfrutar; para realizar sus sueños. Los niños que trabajan son niños a los que se les obliga asumir responsabilidades de un adulto para las que todavía no están preparados", dijo Thomas Wissing, Director para la Oficina de Países de la OIT para México y Cuba  de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT).

"Taiwán se encuentra siempre preocupado por apoyar a las nuevas generaciones, pues cada uno de las niñas, niños y jóvenes será un nuevo miembro de la sociedad mexicana y sus manos está el future de esta bella nación," dijo Carlos S.C. Liao, Director General de la Oficina Económica y Cultural de Taipéi en México. "Somos firmes creyentes de promover a la educación como base del desarrollo sustentable duradero, en aras de erradicar la exclusión, la pobreza y como fin último el trabajo infantil."

La campaña también está invitando a los jóvenes a participar en un concurso de fotografía a través de las redes sociales para mostrar cómo se imaginan su comunidad sin trabajo infantil. Los participantes podrán compartir fotografías y mensajes usando la etiqueta #MXsinTI. Para más detalles visite Para más información sobre el trabajo infantil y como puede involucrarse en la campaña, visite

La iniciativa "Todos Contra el Trabajo Infantil" se basa en el éxito de la campaña anterior "Tu Voz Contra el Trabajo Infantil". En 2014, el gobierno de México, socios del sector privado y organizaciones de la sociedad civil lanzaron una campaña en cinco Estados de la República. La campaña llegó a millones de personas en todo el país y ganó el premio "Conciencia Global" en el Festival Mundial de Medios de Comunicación en Alemania.

A este lanzamiento acudieron 70 niños con discapacidad auditiva del Centro Clotet, quienes disfrutaron las actividades y exhibiciones del Museo totalmente patrocinadas por Papalote para todos, un Programa de Responsabilidad Social, a través del cual niños y niñas en situaciones vulnerables viven la experiencia educativa y de aprendizaje que ofrece este recinto.  

PADF, Government of Mexico and partners Launch Anti-Child Labor Campaign

Leer en español

Mexico City, Mexico (October 24, 2016) — The Government of Mexico and partners, including actress and singer Maite Perroni, launched a national campaign "Everyone Against Child Labour" in the Papalote Children's Museum. The campaign seeks to sensitize young people about the issue of child labor. Key partners in the initiative include the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), Mexico’s Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS), the Telefónica Foundation Mexico, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Mexico and the Mexican Youth Institute (IMJUVE).

This initiative will support the actions taken by the government to reduce child labor in Mexico. It also aims to empower young people to become agents of change, promote greater access to education among children and adolescents and raise public awareness in order to help eradicate child labor.

"Childhood is a critical stage in the life of each person, and one of the cornerstones of our society,” said Maite Perroni, campaign spokesperson and goodwill ambassador for the Pan American Development Foundation. “As Mexicans, we must work together to create an environment where children feel safe, where they have opportunities to attend school and learn, and where we can help them become productive individuals in their communities.”

This Campaign will support the Government of Mexico’s efforts to eradicate child labor. Today, more than 2.5 million children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 17 are affected by child labor, according to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).

"The Government of Mexico is committed to eradicating child labor," said Ruby Ignacio Salazar, Secretary of Social Welfare of the Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare. "Through this initiative we want to continue raising awareness and change people’s perceptions about child labor. This requires the support of parents, communities, employers and society. We call on young men and women to join this national effort and spread the message that children should go to school, not to work. "

In order to engage youth, the campaign held meetings in the states of Campeche, Tabasco and Puebla to inform university students and IMJUVE youth networks about the problem and invite them to become agents of change in their communities. The meetings will be held at the following locations: Autonomous University of Campeche (October 25), Olmeca University in Tabasco (October 27) and the Iberoamerican University of Puebla (October 28).

"At Fundación Telefónica we believe that a quality education is an effective, sustainable strategy to reduce the rate of child labor in Latin America,” said Nidia Chavéz Montiel, Deputy Director of the Telefónica Foundation Mexico. “Over 13 years of managing the Proniño program in 14 countries in the region, we have benefited 488,084 girls, boys and adolescents through education to help eradicate child labor.”

"A child laborer is a child who does not have time to study,” said Thomas Wissing, director for the International Labour Organization office in Mexico and Cuba. “A girl who works has no time to enjoy, to realize her dreams. Working children are forced to assume adult responsibilities for which are not ready."

"Taiwan is always concerned about supporting new generations, because each child will be a new member of Mexican society with a hand in the future of this beautiful nation," said Carlos S.C. Liao, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Mexico. "We are firm believers in promoting education as a basis for lasting sustainable development, in order to eradicate exclusion, poverty and child labor."

The campaign is also inviting young people to participate in a photo contest through social networks to show how they imagine their community without child labor. Participants can share photos and messages using the hashtag #MXsinTI. For more details visit

For more information on child labor and how you can get involved in the campaign, visit

The initiative "All Against Child Labour" is based on the success of the previous campaign "Your Voice Against Child Labour.” In 2014, the government of Mexico, along with private sector partners and civil society organizations launched a campaign in five Mexican states. The campaign reached millions of people around the country and won the "Global Awareness" award at the World Media Festival in Germany.

The launch was attended by 70 children with hearing disabilities from the Clotet Center. The children enjoyed the activities and exhibitions of the Papalote Museums courtesy of the museum’s Social Responsibility Program, which provides children in vulnerable situations with educational experiences.

Maite Perroni Joins Anti Child Labor Campaign

Mexican actress Maite Perroni spoke with People En Español live from the Biltmore
Hotel in Miami today about her commitment to PADF's campaign against child labor.

Mexico, PADF and Telefónica Foundation Announce Anti-Child Labor Campaign

Leer en Español

Campaign to raise awareness among youth, university students and Mexican society at large

Mexico City, Mexico – The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) signed today an agreement with Mexico’s Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) to raise awareness within Mexican society about child labor. As part of this new agreement, PADF will carry out a campaign called "Tod@s Contra el Trabajo Infantil” (Everyone Against Child Labor) with additional support from the Telefónica Foundation, the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Mexico and the Mexican Institute of Youth (IMJUVE).

Through this initiative, STPS seeks to engage Mexican society and to build on the work of the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto to eradicate child labor throughout the country. The campaign is a partnership of the government, private sector and civil society organizations to raise awareness across all levels of Mexican society, particularly among young people, to encourage them to become agents of change.

As a result of the measures taken by Mexico’s current administration, more than 500,000 children are no longer engaged in child labor and have been integrated into schools. This has made Mexico a model country on this issue within the region. However, more than 2.5 million children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 17 continue to be affected by child labor, according to Mexico’s National Institute of Geography and Statistics (INEGI). 

"The Mexican government is taking important steps to combat child labor," said Alfonso Navarrete Prida, Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare. "We hope that through this new initiative we can continue to educate and influence the perception of Mexican society about this problem. Change starts with young people. They have a powerful and viral voice that can be part of the solution."

"Education is a fundamental right that allows the development not only of individuals but also of society as a whole. We want all Mexican children to remain in school and get an education, so they can ensure a good future for themselves, their families and Mexico,” said Caterina Valero, Senior Programs Director for PADF. “When children and young people are educated, the result is a society that is better prepared to promote economic and social progress. Children and young people deserve the opportunity to have a healthy and hopeful future. Victims of child labor face daunting challenges. The work interrupts their education unnecessarily, burdens them with responsibilities that do not correspond with their age, and has a negative impact by limiting their capacity and that of society to progress.”

Through this initiative, Telefónica Foundation in Mexico, which has been a close ally for several years, will continue to support the wellbeing of children and young Mexicans and facilitate access to better educational opportunities.

The new campaign, which is slated to launch in August of 2016, will include events in several Mexican states on the issue of child labor. The goal is to raise awareness among youth and society at large, encouraging them to be part of the solution. Activities will include university forums, documentary screenings, and concerts.

This initiative will also involve a national contest among university students to produce a video documentary about the issue of child labor. The winning entry will be incorporated into a longer documentary that will be screened widely in the media and across social networks.

In addition, the campaign will update the website "Your Voice Against Child Labor," which provides information, materials and multimedia resources for young people to learn about the negative effects of child labor and participate in discussions on this issue. PADF also plans to develop a curriculum about child labor for students of the Mexican Institute of Youth (IMJUVE), to help ensure that youth in this network have the tools to become agents of change regarding this problem.

PADF has a long history of cooperation with Mexico. The “Tod@s” initiative builds on the success of the previous “Mexico Without Child Labor” campaign. In 2014, PADF worked with the Mexican government, private sector partners and civil society organizations to launch a multimedia campaign and a road show to five Mexican states. The campaign reached more than 7.5 million people throughout the country and won the “Global Awareness Award” at the World Media Festival in Germany.