SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - Tens of thousands of Bay Area residents have spent an anxious 24 hours trying to contact loved ones in the disaster zone. Now, their collective attention turns to getting financial help to those in need. One avenue is the airwaves of The Hot KZSF 1370-AM, Spanish language talk, which has taken a serious turn. Midday host Celina Rodriguez altered her one-hour show to focus solely on Mexico's earthquake aftermath.
"The largest immigration from Latin America in this area is from Mexico, so the main focus has been how to inform our audience how can they help," said Rodriquez
Tuesday's seven-point-one temblor has killed over 200 people, and left large sections of Mexico devastated. Midday mass services at many South Bay houses of worship saw people offering prayers for quake victims. Rodriguez says calling to into the quake-zone won't help matters, and may make things worse.
"It's very important not to use the lines in Mexico. The telephone lines are overwhelmed and the main ways of communicating are saturated. So it's very important to use the official lines. The one-800 number that has been provided," she said while reviewing program notes in one of the station's studios.
That toll free national number is 1-855-463-6395. It goes into a phone bank specifically designed to get information to families. Additionally, Rodriguez warns that people wanting to make financial donations should follow the government's official lead, and contact the Mexican Red Cross.
"This is the best way to get donations down there. Not food, clothing or tools. The main thing is donations through the Mexican Red Cross," said Rodriguez. "The Red Cross is an institution that everybody's trusts. Unfortunately the trust in the Mexican government is not very strong among our people."
So for the rest of the week, Rodriguez will take to the noon-time airwaves, hoping her voice of caution and direction will make a difference in a region devastated by an act of nature.