An airplane pilot. A professional DJ. A criminology student. People from all walks of life are volunteering in the rescue efforts after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake devastated central Mexico last week.
“It’s the people that you see every day on the street,” said Omar Torres, a photographer with Agence France-Presse. “There are thousands helping, bringing food, unloading trucks, whatever.”
On Monday, Torres set up a studio in the parking lot of a Mexico City bakery and took portraits of workers as they walked to and from a collapsed building just a couple of blocks away. “We wanted to show that there are anonymous people working a lot,” he said. “They are the key.”
Iliana Betzua, a 51-year-old nurse, volunteered to give medical assistance after the earthquake, She has also helped remove debris and unload provisions.
Alejandro Torres is a systems engineer who volunteered as a rescuer. “I don’t see chaos,” he said during Monday’s photo shoot. “I see a lot of people organized by the heart.”
Alberto Fuentes is a 58-year-old pilot who volunteered to help with various tasks after the quake. “Thank God I can be here helping other people,” he said.
Pola Diaz, 53, is a social worker who volunteered to be a “topo” (mole) in the rescue efforts. They are called moles because they burrow their way into collapsed buildings.
Evelyn De Sollano Luna is a 21-year-old criminology student who has been helping unload provisions and food.
Sgt. Luis Aviles is a firefighter from Baja California Sur, a Mexican state near California. He traveled to Mexico City to help.
Ruben Sanchez volunteered as a rescuer. “Working in a disaster like this, you can be working for hours and hours until you find one person,” Torres said. “So there are shifts.”
Capt. Fernando Valencia is another firefighter who traveled to Mexico City from Baja California Sur.
Miguel Angel Sesma, a 40-year-old volunteer with a degree in public safety, has been offering his expertise in integral risk management.
Alejandra Lopez, a 34-year-old advertising producer, has been helping coordinate support personnel. She told Torres she was struck by the amount of people who have been helping in the rescue efforts.
Ran Maman, a 39-year-old member of the Israeli Defense Force, has been helping with rescue operations. Search teams from Israel, Japan and the United States are among those helping with rescues.
Arlette Salyano is a lawyer who volunteered as a specialist to help with integral risk management.
Leticia Guevara, 32, is a nursing assistant providing various forms of support. The Bible verse on her helmet translates to “Psalms 31: Be my strong rock and my refuge.”
Jorge Leonel de Cervantes, 37, is a professional DJ who has volunteered as a rescuer. He has also coordinated trash collection and cleaned portable bathrooms.
Jeronimo Rodriguez, who volunteered as a rescuer, told Torres he was most struck by the number of corpses he has seen.