The Baja California Sur Community: As Compassionate and Resilient as Ever

By Elisa Allen Arias

Resilience is defined as the ability to withstand and recover from difficult, stressful, or chaotic events and is necessary for handling constant change in a positive way. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly brought about “constant change” as we struggle to respond to the threat of a novel virus while learning new science every week, and trying to balance our health with our economic needs. We’ve seen cities handle this crisis in many different ways and the Baja California Sur community has responded quickly to its citizens’ needs.

Annual preparations and recoveries from hurricanes have taught our community a lot about preparing for disaster while accepting that there are natural events that we cannot control. We have also shown, over and over, that we know how to recover and rebuild from catastrophe. From the devastation of Hurricane Odile in 2014 to the billions of dollars lost due to Tropical Storm Lydia in 2017, Baja Sur has had its share of chaos in the last 6 years. But every time, our community has rallied and recovered. The recent pandemic has stressed the Baja Sur community economically most of all since as of this writing, only 735 confirmed cases have been reported for the entire state. Unfortunately, the lockdown of businesses for over two months has created a vast need in an area where many people live paycheck to paycheck, have little cash savings, and live in large family groups.

To help people weather this new type of storm, the “Baja California Sur Community Alliance (BCSCA)/Alianza comunitaria de BCS (ACBCS)” was created as a coalition of 191 philanthropic private assistance organizations and companies, working in coordination with state and municipal authorities and the armed forces. The BCSCA has three main goals: for everyone in BCS to have enough food during the COVID-19 crisis, for all medical personnel to have sufficient resources to treat patients, and to be a permanent support network that may be activated during future emergencies.

As of May 29th, the Alliance has raised an impressive amount of $3,805,101 USD (just over half of their goal). They have made food purchases using $1,182,762 USD and compiled 87,869 food packages - 54,590 of which have already been distributed. They have also purchased $341,546 USD in medical supplies and are actively delivering them to 15 medical institutions including IMMS, ISSSTE, SSA, and Red Cross. These huge efforts are largely being achieved via volunteers statewide and the coordination of many smaller organizations working together. All volunteers receive training in biosecurity and geo-referencing, and their work includes office duties, delivering supplies in the field, receiving & sorting donations, and managing the phones. More donations and volunteers are always needed and there are myriad ways to help BCSCA reach its goals. Ultimately, this wide-reaching and effective organization is proving, once again, that the resilient Baja Sur community will get back up every time we fall down, and that the citizens with the most need will not be left behind.

For more information about the organization, its work, and donations:
Follow them on Instagram: @acbajasur
Check out their website: https://www.acbcs.org.mx/eng_version
Send an email: acbcs@comovamoslapaz.org or acbcs@loscaboschildren.org


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