Donating Blood Can Save Lives After Disasters Like Mexico City, Here's How To Do It

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If you've been thinking that that the news seems more apocalyptic than normal these days, you would be correct. There has been and unfathomable barrage of natural disasters that have gone on to decimate places like Texas, Florida, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit in late August, while September saw a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City and unthinkable devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit. Finding ways to help the victims of these disasters is first on the mind of many people. One way to help is to find out how to donate blood for Mexico City earthquake survivors.

Tuesday, Sept. 19 saw a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City. The quake claimed over 200 lives, and it brought down over 40 buildings. According to ComoAyudar, which is a non-profit citizen collaborative site where you can find information as to how you can most be most effective in the recovery effort, there are many ways to help.

To help with a blood shortage, you will have to be local to Mexico. The best place to go is the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), or Mexican Social Security Institute, in English. According to the IMSS website, the department has 66 blood banks. The two locations that are highlighted on ComoAyudar are Central Mexico City and Morelos, Mexico -- where the earthquake hit hardest.

Though the IMSS said via Twitter on Sept. 19 that it had "sufficient reserves of blood" in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, there is always a need for donations year-round — the organization notes that only 3% of blood donations in Mexico are "altruistic," or donated by strangers without "expecting anything in return." The IMSS states the following about donation (as translated from Spanish to English via Google):

In Mexico the percentage of altruistic donors is 3% and the rest of the donors are called by replacement or relatives: that is, Mexico is the prototype country of Family Donation and Non-altruistic. While it is true that the number of altruistic donors in our country increases every year, they remain very low compared to countries where almost 100% are altruistic.

It also says that being a donor "can save lives. The donation does not cause any risk to the health of the donor." The health of the donor and the recipient is the first priority, so the IMSS continues to explain (the following has also been translated from Spanish to English via Google):

All blood is tested with state-of-the-art technology to detect communicable diseases or their causative agents such as the AIDS virus, Hepatitis C virus, Hepatitis B virus, Syphilis tests, Chagas disease, as well as identifying blood and Rh groups. The above, to give biosecurity to the patient.

If you're not able to donate blood directly to Mexico City, you can help in other ways by giving online to donation campaigns like Aporta. A crowdfunding campaign on the website states that donations will be filtered in real-time to organizations that are helping the most severely affected areas. The Mexican Red Cross is also accepting monetary donations.

Another helpful organization is called Topos, Spanish for "moles." The trained volunteer team is a nonprofit organization that goes into buildings that have crumbled because of the earthquake to rescue people who are trapped in the rubble.

While you're assisting in the Mexico City earthquake recovery efforts, you can also turn your attention to Puerto Rico and the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. On Wednesday, Sept. 20, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, and according to The New York Times, Maria was the "first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall on Puerto Rico since 1932."

To give you an idea of the damage caused, according to The Washington Post, this devastation came so close after Hurricane Irma hit, that the north coastal town of Loiza saw more than 90 percent of homes destroyed by the two hurricanes.

Information on blood donation in Puerto Rico is not yet being widely disseminated, but you can always donate blood to your local Red Cross organization. There are also other ways to help, like donating food and clothes.

If it seems like a daunting task to make a meaningful contribution, just start small. Every little bit helps.