Nearly two weeks after a magnitude 7.1 toppled buildings in Mexico, the death toll continues to climb.
As of Saturday, 361 people had died with search efforts still underway to find several more trapped in collapsed buildings.
“I would wake up and think about those people who were still alive and trapped,” said Brina Bunt. “When you think of the mortalities and the people suffering in the collapsed buildings, that’s the hard part. That’s the part that keeps you up at night.”
Raised in the Puget Sound area, Bunt moved to Mexico City seven months ago. The University of Washington graduate was in Costco when the ground began to shake, causing a near stampede.
“I think I'm the first person who started running, but by the time I got to the door, it was like a herd of wildebeest trying to get through a bottleneck,” Bunt said.
The veterinarian and hobby photographer escaped unscathed. Her two daughters arrived home safely from school, albeit an hour later than usual. When Bunt and her husband were unable to call within the city, they were able to call family in the United States and confirm each other’s safety.
Though the couple is relatively new to the area, Bunt says everyone seems to be within a few degrees of someone who died in the quake.
“[An acquaintance’s] godmother and godfather were stuck in the rubble and they were actually texting to try to let people know where they were. By the time they were found, they had already passed away,” Bunt said.
Despite the many tragedies, Bunt says many people are beginning to get back to work, back to school, back on their feet again.
“Just watching people stand there and laboriously pull off the rocks from the buildings. There are volunteers with their hard hats walking down the street looking for something to do,” Bunt said. “It’s just amazing.”