Earthquake-damaged school in Guerrero. Earthquake-damaged school in Guerrero.

Damage study finds signs of corruption

Engineers found more than just earthquake damage during assessment of schools

The assessment of Guerrero schools damaged by the September 19 earthquake have revealed years of indolence, mismanagement and corruption not only on the part of teachers, but parents as well.

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Those were the findings of specialists from the College of Engineers of Chilpancingo who assessed the structural integrity of 10 schools located in that municipality.

They decided to make their findings public because while there were schools that were indeed damaged in the 7.1-magnitude earthquake, some of the damages detected in the buildings date back to 2013, having been caused by the double-whammy of Hurricane Ingrid and tropical storm Manuel.

The deteriorated state of the schools is more than just a result of omissions by state educational authorities, they said, but neglect by teachers and parents.

Engineer José Luis Hernández Rodríguez said what they uncovered was “the usual corruption, and damage caused by poor maintenance and, in some cases, small but rash renovations that affected the original structures.”

The engineers noted, for example, that poor waterproofing had been applied in several facilities that, far from being beneficial, ended up causing more damage.

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They also saw several renovation projects ordered by teachers or parents that altered the original blueprint of the schools, modifications that structurally damaged the existing buildings and that now require major reconstruction.

In some cases, whole walls had been torn down to make custodians’ work easier, negatively impacting the buildings’ integrity.

There were cases where metal roofing had been installed over open areas but the work went to contractors who charged the lowest prices and as a result the structures were unsafe, the engineers said.

In some cases, provisional classrooms had been erected but as with the metal roofing, the work was cheaply done and substandard.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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