Tens of thousands of people lost their homes when a powerful earthquake rocked central Mexico on 19 September, killing at least 369 people. Many are elderly, and many still homeless and living in government-sponsored shelters or camping near their crumbled homes.

Damage to housing was particularly striking in the states of Puebla and Morelos close to the epicentre of the quake. Some houses were simply flattened by the shuddering tectonic shift which the government and the private sector estimated caused billions of dollars of damage. Mexico's federal government says it is creating a plan to help people finance the purchase of new places to live.


Reuters photojournalist Edgard Garrido met earthquake survivors in small towns in the epicentre zone. IBTimes UK shares their portraits and their stories.

Cenobia Riquelme, 76, who suffers from Alzheimer's, lives in Jojutla de Juarez, Morelos state. Her house was very badly damaged and her husband was killed. She and her husband were trapped under the rubble. Cenobia was pulled out by a soldier, but he could not be rescued. She now lives in the backyard and could return home once it's rebuilt. Her son Sebastian said: "My mother searches for my father to make his lunch. This is all very sad and I am worried."

Mexico earthquake
Cenobia Riquelme, 76, who suffers from Alzheimer's, poses for a portrait next to her house after an earthquake in Jojutla de Juarez, MexicoEdgard Garrido/Reuters

Ana Maria Hernandez, 37, a clothing salesperson, posed for a portrait outside her house in Jojutla de Juarez as it was being demolished. Hernandez is living with relatives and hopes to return home once it is rebuilt. "I lost everything. My aunt died here," she said.

Mexico earthquake
Ana Maria Hernandez, 37, a clothing salesperson, poses for a portrait outside her house as it is demolished after an earthquake in Jojutla de JuarezEdgard Garrido/Reuters

Teresa Luna, 49, a seamstress, posed for a portrait with her dog Dokie, next to part of her badly damaged house in Chietla, Puebla state. With the help of her family she was able to salvage some furniture. "The most valuable thing that I recovered was my dog," Luna said. She is living in her backyard and hopes to return when the damage is repaired.

Mexico earthquake
Teresa Luna, 49, a seamstress, poses for a portrait with her dog Dokie, next to part of her house which was badly damaged after an earthquake in ChietlaEdgard Garrido/Reuters

Jaime Delgado, 21, an agricultural worker, posed in an area where he helped rescue people in Jojutla de Juarez. "A lady died here, crushed by the rubble."

Mexico earthquake
Jaime Delgado, 21, an agricultural worker, poses for a portrait on rubble in an area where he helped rescue people, in Jojutla de JuarezEdgard Garrido/Reuters

Tomasa Mozo, 69, looked up at the damaged roof as she stood inside the ruins of her house in San Jose Platanar, Puebla state. The house was badly damaged but with the help of her family Mozo salvaged some furniture. She lives in another room of her house and hopes to repair the damage as soon as possible. "I'm afraid to go out, I can not sleep," Mozo said.

Mexico earthquake
Tomasa Mozo, 69, stands inside the ruins of her house in San Jose Platanar and looks up at the damaged roofEdgard Garrido/Reuters

Luis Medina, 36, a farm worker, Maria Teresa Espinoza, 35, and their nine-year-old daughter Maria de Jesus were able to salvage some furniture from their house in San Jose Platanar and are waiting for their home to be demolished. They are living in their backyard and hope for it to be rebuilt. "The most valuable thing that I recovered was the picture of the Virgin," Espinoza said.

Mexico earthquake
Luis Medina, 36, a farm worker, Maria Teresa Espinoza, 35, and Maria de Jesus Medina, 9, pose for a portrait inside their house which was badly damaged after an earthquake in San Jose PlatanarEdgard Garrido/Reuters

Maria Guzman, 70, posed for a portrait on the rubble of her house in San Jose Platanar. The house was badly damaged, but her family helped her to salvage some furniture. She now lives in a shelter and hopes her home will be rebuilt. "The most valuable thing that I recovered was the photo of my wedding day," she said.

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Maria Guzman, 70, poses for a portrait on the rubble of her house after an earthquake in San Jose PlatanarEdgard Garrido/Reuters

Juan Sanchez, 53, a parishioner and a church guard, posed for a portrait in front San Juan Bautista church in San Juan Pilcaya, Puebla state. His house wasn't damaged so he has offered shelter to some families in his backyard. "We are holding mass under a tent. It is a great sadness, we are waiting for the government's help to rebuild our church," Sanchez said.

Mexico earthquake
Juan Sanchez, 53, a parishioner and a church guard, poses for a portrait in front San Juan Bautista church after an earthquake in San Juan PilcayaEdgard Garrido/Reuters

Prudencio Gutierrez, 66, a farm worker, posed for a portrait in front of his house in San Francisco Xochiteopan, Puebla state. His house was badly damaged, but he was able to salvage his bed and some clothing. "The most valuable thing that I recovered was my hat," he said. "The authorities said they were going to help us build a house, but I do not know if it's true."

Mexico earthquake
Prudencio Gutierrez, 66, a farm worker, poses for a portrait in front of his house after an earthquake in San Francisco XochiteopanEdgard Garrido/Reuters

Hector Guzman, 48, representative of the Municipal President in San Jose Platanar, posed for a portrait in San Jose Platanar, holding a model of a new house for his father. Guzman is building his father a temporary house with bamboo reeds after it was badly damaged.

Mexico earthquake
Hector Guzman, 48, representative of the Municipal President in San Jose Platanar, holds a model of a new house for his father as he poses for a portrait after an earthquake in San Jose PlatanarEdgard Garrido/Reuters

Veronica Dircio, 34, posed for a portrait with her sons in front of a tent in a neighbour's backyard in San Juan Pilcaya, Puebla state. Dircio's house was badly damaged. "We stayed on the street. We expect the demolition of our house and the help of the authorities," she said.

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Veronica Dircio, 34, poses for a portrait with her sons in front of a tent in a neighbour's backyard after an earthquake in San Juan PilcayaEdgard Garrido/Reuters

Rene Contreras, 20, a student, posed for a portrait on the rubble of his house in Jojutla de Juarez. The house was badly damaged. "Now I live with my brother. Tomorrow a good-hearted person will build for me an emergency house. I will fight to get ahead," Contreras said.

Mexico earthquake
Rene Contreras, 20, a student, poses for a portrait on the rubble of his house after an earthquake in Jojutla de JuarezEdgard Garrido/Reuters

Elena Zapata, 69, posed for a portrait with her granddaughter Mariana, 3, inside the ruins of her house in Tepalcingo, Morelo state. The house was badly damaged but with the help of her family and soldiers Zapata rescued some furniture. She now lives in her backyard and hopes to return when the damage is repaired. "The most valuable thing that I have is the life of my granddaughter. We hope the authorities come to visit us. I feel anguish, I hear noises, I just want to cry," Zapata said.

Mexico earthquake
Elena Zapata, 69, poses for a portrait with her granddaughter Mariana, 3, inside the ruins of her house in TepalcingoEdgard Garrido/Reuters

In total 369 people died in the 19 September earthquake, the most deadly in a generation, with almost two-thirds of the fatalities in the capital. Earlier that month, 98 people died when an even more powerful tremor hit the south of the country.