"My grandmother lives in Platelolco, close by. It was blocked off by the Army. . . . My parents live 40 minutes outside the city, and I can't communicate with her by phone. . . . They are kind of scared. My grandmother, Jacinta Zermeno, is 75, and we don't know anything."
He said he was scheduled to fly back to Mexico City on Saturday night, taking medicines, baby food, blankets, candy bars and toys. "You have to keep the kids doing something," he said, "and they need calories."
As for his grandmother, Hernandez said: "I will keep going back until I find something of her. I won't leave until I know how she's doing, how she's faring. . . . I'm trying to think positive."
Western Airlines is also airlifting equipment from Los Angeles International Airport to Mexico City, most of it donated or loaned by Los Angeles city and county agencies. Among the gear are portable generators, a gas-driven fan, a hydraulic jack, a tractor, 1,000 flashlights and 3,000 batteries.
A spokesman for City Councilman Art Snyder said it is hoped more heavy equipment can be flown in next week on an air freight Boeing 747, while lower priority heavy equipment will be sent by train.
Six Southern California Adventist hospitals have airlifted about 3,100 pounds of medical supplies valued at $20,000, with White Memorial Medical Center in Glendale coordinating the project.
While most aid from Southern California was going to Mexico City, Pasadena was directing its relief efforts toward the smaller city of Ciudad Guzman, which has about 125,000 residents about 90 miles southwest of Guadalajara.
Mireya Asturias Jones, chairman of El Centro de Accion Central, which represents Pasadena's Latino community, headed a delegation of 10 city officials and service officers who went to Ciudad Guzman.
She said Saturday that because Ciudad Guzman suffered fewer casualties and less damage than Mexico City, the relief effort there will concentrate on people-to-people aid, cash donations to help rebuild individual homes.
Jones, a Guatemalan by birth, worked as a translator in her native country during the summer after the earthquake disaster of 1976.
She said that from her experience in Guatemala, the people "don't need canned asparagus shipped from Pasadena, but rice and beans purchased locally."
She said 12 churches--"probably the only tall structures in the city"--were destroyed, but Ciudad Guzman's six hospitals had only minor damage. Jones said she was told that 29 people died in the city, another 10 in the outlying districts.
"It is a proud and wonderful city," she said. "I think what we will do is start a sort of adoption program. . . . It would cost $200 to $300 to rebuild an individual home." She estimated that 600 homes were destroyed.
And, she said: "We learned a lot from Ciudad Guzman that would be useful if Pasadena were ever hit by an earthquake. . . . The togetherness, the teamwork were unbelievable."
Jones said a news conference will be held this week to announce specific plans and goals for Pasadena's relief effort, which she believes will take the form of a fund-raising drive.
Jones delivered a message to one Southern Californian. She said she met 53-year-old Aurelia Gomez, mother of Eddie Gomez of Anaheim, at one of the relief centers.
Aurelia Gomez, who had been in Ciudad Guzman since August to celebrate her mother's 98th birthday, pitched in as a Red Cross volunteer to help rebuild the city of her birth.
Her son said he was delighted but not surprised to get word from his mother by way of a phone call from Jones.
"I understand that she will be there another week or so," Gomez said. "She feels a moral obligation to work with the \o7 Cruz Rojas\f7 ."