Details/Information for Canadian Forces (CF) Operation Mexico 1985

CF Overseas Operations have most often operated within the construct of an international mandate. As such, the International Information is presented first in order to provide the context of the Canadian Operation (displayed second). Eventually, all rotations associated with the particular Canadian operation will also be displayed.

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International Information

International Operation Name: Mexico 1985

International Mission Name: Mexico 1985

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name: North America

Location: Mexico

Mission Date: 19 September 1985 - 26 September 1985

Canadian Task Force Name Mission Statement: To airlift aid to Mexico City after a major earthquake.

Operation Notes:

Mexico City is built upon an ancient lake, which since the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs has been slowly filled in to allow for the expansion of the city. During earthquakes, the compacted clay vibrates much like a bowl of jelly. The magnitude 8.1 earthquake (the Michoacan Earthquake) that struck Mexico on 19 September caused little damage to towns built on solid ground near the epicentre, 320 km southeast of Mexico City. However, the soil under Mexico City accentuated the vibrations of the earth and wreaked havoc on 5 to 10 story buildings – large areas of the city were literally shaken apart with over 3500 buildings destroyed or seriously damaged. The earth’s movements created the most damaging earthquake in Mexico City’s history. More than 10,000 people perished with over 40,000 injured.

International assistance was almost immediate. Aid and relief brigades came from Algeria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, Switzerland, Venezuela, the United States, and 27 other nations. 681 tons of medicines were sent, and 353.5 tons of instruments and medical equipment; 1637.6 tons of food, 1432.5 tons of machinery and vehicles, 137.3 tons of accessories, 1253.7 tons of clothing, blankets and camping equipment, 43 tons of other equipment and 159.8 tons of rescue equipment.

On 19 September, a 424 Squadron Buffalo flew to Mexico City with a cargo of blankets and medical supplies. The two crews included Search and Rescue technicians and were prepared to evacuate Canadians who wished to leave. As there were no users of this service, the Buffalo and crews were offered to the Mexican Government but were not employed. They returned to Canada on the 26th. A CF Hercules also transported 14 civilian rescue workers and brought relief supplies from CFB Edmonton to Mexico City.