earthquake damage Some damage is well beyond repair.

16 billion pesos eyed for quake rebuilding

Finance secretary says disaster fund, insurance policies will be tapped

The federal government is considering a recovery package worth 16 billion pesos (US $905.7 million) to rebuild the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas in the aftermath of the September 7 earthquake that left close to 100 people dead and adversely affected an estimated two million.

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In an interview with the newspaper El Universal, Finance Secretary José Antonio Meade said that there are already 9 billion pesos in the Natural Disaster Fund (Fonden) and a request for a further 7 billion pesos to be added next year has been made.

He also stated that the government has disaster insurance that will cover federal infrastructure damaged in the 8.2-magnitude quake including schools, hospitals and highways. It includes additional coverage for losses that exceed the insured amounts and an additional catastrophe fund can be accessed if required, Meade explained.

Thousands of homes across both states will also have to be rebuilt after sustaining either structural damage or collapsing completely.

Meade said that budget funds currently available are adequate for the emergency stage and that state and municipal resources would be added to federal money to ensure that all damaged areas received funding.

Asked by El Universal whether there would be a shortage of money for reconstruction, he replied “We don’t think so.”

Considering the enormous task ahead, some people have called for the funding of political parties to be cut and to have the money reassigned to areas affected by the quake.

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Last month the National Electoral Institute (INE) approved the allocation of 6.8 billion pesos to parties in the lead-up to next year’s presidential election, the highest amount for which it has ever signed off.

Senator Armando Ríos Piter proposed slashing that funding by half and reallocating it to an earthquake recovery fund, a measure supported by Senate President Ernesto Cordero but a former INE official said that it would have to be voluntarily approved by the parties themselves, which may be difficult to achieve.

President Enrique Peña Nieto visited Chiapas yesterday where he said that 300,000 people have been identified as victims of the massive September 7 earthquake.

During his visit, he toured the streets of Lázaro Cárdenas in the municipality of Cintalapa where he witnessed first-hand the destruction caused, including the rubble of houses either flattened by the quake or demolished because of structural damage. In total, 82 of the state’s 122 municipalities sustained damage.

Rebuilding efforts are expected to start as early as next week and will be supported by both government and the private sector, the president said.

Source: El Universal (sp), Animal Político (sp)

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