Complexity and instability at the sites of buildings that collapsed in Tuesday’s earthquake means that rescue efforts will now become “surgical,” according to the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena).
In an interview with the newspaper Milenio, Sedena Undersecretary Gilberto Hernández guaranteed that work would continue as long as necessary but said that it was now time for experts rather than volunteers to get the job done.
“The population is still eager to help [but] we must be a lot more careful and do only what the experts say . . . now it’s technical people that will do surgical work,” he said.
The Navy Secretariat (Semar) said it would continue its rescue efforts and that a meeting had been held with experts from several government agencies to determine the best strategy going forward.
The official death toll is now 305, according to the national Civil Protection office.
A Semar press release also categorically stated that no heavy machinery would be used to clear disaster sites until it was certain that no one remained trapped in the rubble.
There has been some speculation spread via social media that sites would be bulldozed before it was completely certain that all survivors had been rescued or bodies recovered.
However, Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera said that the priority continued to be the rescue of people trapped and “there is no instruction to the contrary.”
At least 69 people have been rescued alive from the rubble of fallen buildings and thermal testing indicates that there could still be other survivors trapped at several sites around the city, he said.
16 people were rescued from wreckage at one site three days after the quake struck, raising hopes that more survivors could emerge from beneath the rubble.
Interior Secretary Miguel Osorio Chong also rejected any suggestion that heavy machinery would prematurely put an end to rescue efforts, calling the spreading of any such rumors as a “vile deed.”
“The president made it clear, there was a press conference, we posted tweets, I held [press] conferences, all with the president’s instruction: the support to search for the victims and to be able to find those who could still be among rubble must not be stopped in any way.”
Osorio Chong said the government hadn’t given up on the possibility of finding more survivors and consequently the rescue work will continue.
“We all want to see the possibility of finding a victim until the end. We all have hope.”
Source: Milenio (sp)