Quake Cleanup Begins in Calexico

By Greg Bledsoe and Eric S.Page
|  Wednesday, Apr 7, 2010  |  Updated 4:44 PM PDT
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Dramatic Photos: Easter Quake Photos From Mexico

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Store owner Robert Gronich surveys damage to his Calexico shop.

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Quake Cleanup Begins in Calexico

A team from the Salvation Army sent an emergency Mobile Feeding Unit to El Centro and Calexico, offering food and water to those who need it.

Calexico Among Hardest Hit By Quake

Eighty percent of buildings in one area have been red-tagged.
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Even as the recovery begins from Sunday's 7.2 temblor, the aftershocks continue.
   
A magnitude 3.8 quake hit Baja California at about 2 p.m. on Monday, just the latest in a string of aftershocks from the big quake. The closest city to the epicenter on the U.S. side of the border is Calexico, where city workers and private businesses began doing what they could on Monday to cleanup after the mighty quake.

A major effort is under way to help those who are affected by the earthquake. At about 9 a.m. on Monday, a team from the Salvation Army sent an emergency Mobile Feeding Unit to El Centro and Calexico, offering food and water to those who need it. The Salvation Army has also set up a shelter for displaced families. A representative for the aid agency said that three families stayed in the shelter on Sunday night and that they are preparing for more that on Monday night.

Recovering from a quake is not an unfamiliar experience for residents of the California city, including furniture store owner Fito Ydurralde. Of his 93 Easter Sundays in Calexico, this year's may the hardest to forget.

"These are feelings you don't get ordinarily," Ydurralde said.

The reminders have been coming about every hour.

Ydurralde's business looked like anything but a well-staged living room on Monday.

"See how the walls are gone?" Ydurralde said.

Parts of the ceiling are missing, lamps and vases are broken. Ydurralde is not alone -- there is broken glass up and down the streets of downtown, much of it outside businesses whose owners said they really do need to be open.

Cracks can be seen in a few of the buildings. For most of the stores, the time spent cleaning and repairing the damage will be very costly. At one 99-cent store, the mess was too big to allow customers inside. Still, that doesn't mean they can afford to close altogether, so they did business one customer at a time, retrieving items.
 

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