Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

A week after an earthquake that killed more than 300 people, a shaken Mexico was torn between trying to get back to normal and keeping up an increasingly hopeless search for survivors.

Mexicans have responded to last week’s 7.1-magnitude earthquake with an outpouring of neighborly charity, civic activism and national pride.

But there is also outrage in a country where corruption scandals and pervasive impunity have fueled a deep mistrust of the political class and the state structure.

Such is the depth of skepticism that some relief workers went out of their way to stress that they were not affiliated with any official organization.

On a recent morning, a group of young people from another Mexico City neighborhood brought blankets, building materials and food to Xochimilco, a poor municipality best known for its network of canals and artificial islands.

Some have seen echoes of Mexico City’s catastrophic 1985 earthquake, in which thousands died and survivors were left to fend for themselves in the face of an inept federal government response.

Here is a collection of photos of volunteers taken by Omar Torres of AFP and Getty Images.

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Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Photo composition showing people who volunteered after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, posing for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Iliana Betzua, a 51-year-old nurse who volunteered to give medical assistance, remove debris and unload provisions after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses for pictures with a vest reading “God Blesses Those With Good Heart,” in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. What struck Betzua the most was “the brotherhood” among the people. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Pola Diaz, a 53-year-old social worker and rescuer who volunteered as a “topo” (mole) — as the diggers who burrow their way into collapsed buildings are known — after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Alberto Fuentes, a 58-year-old professional airplane pilot who volunteered to help in different tasks after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. “Thanks God I can be here helping other people” was his remark during the photo shoot. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Alejandro Torres, a systems engineer who volunteered as a rescuer after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017.”I don’t see chaos. I see a lot people organized by the heart,” Torres said during the photo shoot. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Jorge Leonel de Cervantes, a 37-year-old professional DJ who volunteered as rescuer, coordinated refuse collection and cleaned mobile bathrooms after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. What struck de Cervantes the most was the cooperation of Mexican people. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Cape Grisel Valencia, a member of the Firemen Corp of Baja California Sur who volunteered as fireman, paramedic and rescuer after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. What struck Valencia the most was the number of volunteers. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Cesar Arevalo, a 33-year-old Salvadoran professional rescuer who worked in the recovery of bodies after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Leticia Guevara, a 32-year-old nursing assistant who volunteered to remove debris and unload provisions after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses on Sept. 25, 2017.
(Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Evelyn De Sollano Luna, a 21-year-old criminology student who volunteered to unload provisions and food after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, 2017. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Ruben Benitez, a 57-year-old coach, businessman, administrator and scuba diving instructor who volunteered as a “topo” (mole) — as the diggers who burrow their way into collapsed buildings are known — after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Jeronimo Rodriguez, who volunteered as a rescuer after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept.19, poses for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Ran Maman, a 39-year-old member of the Israeli Defence Force who arrived to help in the rescue operations after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Ruben Sanchez, who volunteered as a rescuer after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Alejandra Lopez, a 34-year-old advertising producer who volunteered by coordinating other support personnel after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Sargent Luis Aviles, a member of the Firemen Corp of Baja California Sur who volunteered as fireman, paramedic and rescuer after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, 2017 poses on Sept. 25, 2017. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Arlette Salyano, a lawyer who volunteered as a specialist in integral management in disaster risks after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. What struck Salyano the most was that the reaction of the people was the same as that for the quake of 1985. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Ismael Villegas, an electric technician who volunteered as a “topo” (mole) — as the diggers who burrow their way into collapsed buildings are known — after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. What struck Villegas the most was that after many trips to help in other countries, he is now helping in his own. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Miguel Angel Sesma, a 40-year-old bachelor of public safety who volunteered in the integral risk management after the 7.1 earthquake hitted Central Mexico on Sept. 19, poses in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Portraits of earthquake volunteer rescuers in Mexico

Captain Fernado Valencia, a member of the Firemen Corp of Baja California Sur who volunteered as fireman, paramedic and rescuer after the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico on Sept. 19, poses for pictures in Mexico City on Sept. 25, 2017. (Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

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