Bethenny Frankel Travels to Mexico to Aid Earthquake Survivors: 'To Say They Have Nothing Is an Understatement'
Bethenny Frankel traveled to Mexico City and Jojutla, Mexico, in the wake of the devastating earthquake that ravaged the area, handing out supplies and money to survivors
The Real Housewives of New York City star is in the country after planning an impromptu trip on Friday, visiting those affected by the quake and subsequent aftershocks in Mexico City and Jojutla with a small group from The Cabo Agency.
After visiting hard-hit areas in Mexico City, Frankel stocked up on supplies and traveled by helicopter to Jojutla – a small town where at least 73 people have died – to deliver lightweight necessities, including feminine hygiene products and baby food.
“The town’s priest met us when we landed in an open field and drove with us into the center of Jojutla, where we walked into the neighborhood of Juarez – which was totally devastated – along with most of the other neighborhoods of Jojutla,” Frankel tells PEOPLE. “In the neighborhood of Juarez we spoke with people who had lost their loved ones, homes, possessions and livelihood and were living in the streets.”
“It is pure devastation here,” continues Frankel, 46. “The people have less than zero and they estimate it will cost $11 million dollars to rebuild the town. People are living outside. Doctors are performing medical exams in the street. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
Frankel – whose charity program B Strong recently raised $300,00 in donations and supplies for those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas – decided to plan her own trip to the country so she could help out as soon as possible.
Of Jojutla, Frankel says, “It is the forgotten town that was hardest hit in the country. I feel helpless and like I want to hide because anything I do won’t scratch the surface.”
“The people are very frustrated with the government,” she adds. “To say they have nothing is an understatement. They have rubble. That is it.”
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Frankel says 100 percent of any donations to her B Strong program will be distributed directly to the people in Jojutla through her local Mexican partner.
The reality star is also donating her own money and tells PEOPLE she’s been distributing $20,000 out to the thousands displaced in Jojutla.
“In order to help, you need to know who and where to donate in relief situations so it actually gets to them,” she says, adding, “It is the worst situation I have ever seen.”
Frankel does business in Mexico regularly for her Skinnygirl empire; last season on RHONY, she brought the ladies to the town of Tequila to meet her distributors and taste the product.