Natural Disasters

Published: 1985
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI

Dennis Daly: September 19th and 20th were the days the Earth shook in and around Mexico City and the days that 8,000 died. Jim Grivner ran to the U.S. Embassy to tell his story …

Jim Grivner: "The floor was shaking so we ran like three stories down onto the street, and the street was shaking. This hotel about a block away collapsed -- it was about ten stories high -- and then caught on fire."

Dennis Daly: UPI Radio's Bob Futz went immediately to Mexico City and began describing the rescue efforts …

Bob Futz: "This process is terribly slow. While some bulldozers are being used, mostly it is hand work, shovels and picks and hands going through rocks and debris."

Dennis Daly: The next night, Futz was having supper when an aftershock, a major quake in its own right, hit …

Bob Futz: "It gained strength slowly and steadily, first swaying back and forth; but it was interspersed with very sharp sideway jolts. Most patrons ran out into the street, but clearly it was not as strong as the devastating quake on Thursday. It did last well over two minutes, caused substantial damage in the city and sent several local residents into tears in the neighborhood that I was in, fearing that more buildings would come down."

Dennis Daly: There were miraculous stories of rescues in Mexico, some coming more than a week after people were buried.

Hundreds lost their lives in mudslides in Puerto Rico when rains spewed out of Hurricane Juan.

And in mid-November, a long-dormant volcano in Columbia erupted. The heat from the lava melted snow on the mountain; a rushing torrent of mud and water completed covered several Columbian towns. More than 25,000 died.