Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered humanitarian aid and assistance to Mexico following the major 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck the country on Tuesday.
“Israel has received a request for assistance following the severe earthquake in Mexico,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. “[Netanyahu] ordered that assistance and a search and rescue operation be organized and leave for Mexico as soon as possible.”
The death toll from the earthquake, which hit about 76 miles southeast of Mexico City, is at more than 200 people. That number is expected to climb as an untold amount of people are trapped in collapsed buildings.
Volunteers with the Israeli-based ZAKA International Rescue Unit were already on the ground in Mexico assisting with search and rescue and recovery efforts.
“ZAKA Mexico volunteers are now in the disaster area and are taking part in the search to locate a Jewish resident who, according to reports, was in one of the collapsed buildings,” said ZAKA International Rescue Unit Chief Officer Mati Goldstein. “In addition, the volunteers are helping local rescue forces deal with the bodies of the victims.”
Tuesday’s tremor — the second major earthquake in the country in recent weeks — struck on the 32nd anniversary of the devastating 1985 Mexico City earthquake that killed thousands of people.
Just days prior to Netanyahu’s visit to Mexico last week, Israel sent aid to the country following a previous 8.2-magnitude earthquake.