Malia Obama with her fatherLate yesterday, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake shook Oaxaca in southwestern Mexico and later sent scary aftershocks through Mexico City. The rumbler toppled houses near the epicenter, cracked building facades in the country's capital, and for a while there, Mexicans who have experienced their fair share of earthquakes were still freaked out. Sheesh, who wouldn't be?!
Thankfully, despite the earthquake being "one of the strongest" they've ever felt in the region, there have been only 11 injuries and no deaths reported. They really seemed to luck out -- even in cases that could have been devastating, like when a pedestrian bridge crushed a passenger bus below. The bus was empty except for the driver, and he escaped with only minor injuries. Amazing! Similarly, one very famous American who was visiting our neighbors to the south is a-okay. That would be President Obama's 13-year-old daughter, Malia, who was in Oaxaca for a school-sponsored service project.
Thank goodness she's okay! First Lady Michelle Obama's communications director released a statement yesterday reassuring us of Malia's condition:
In light of today's earthquake, we can confirm that Malia Obama is safe and was never in danger.
Whew! Still ... it definitely brings the disaster closer to home when you hear that she was there and could have been in danger. Not that it isn't already frightening to hear about the earthquake and to consider its effect on Mexico's population, but knowing that one of our own -- the child of our President, nonetheless -- was in harm's way personalizes the ordeal for Americans a bit more.
I'm also relieved that the White House did address Malia's well-being, because the general rule of thumb is that they usually won't comment on the First Daughters. The exception, however, is when their safety is in question, and of course, that was the case here.
Here's a report with more details on the earthquake ...
Does hearing that Malia Obama was there make this news hit closer to home to you?
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