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A building damaged in the September 19 earthquake. A building damaged in the September 19 earthquake.

One year after earthquakes, 1,000 buildings at high risk of collapse

Another 3,500 are at medium or low risk of falling

A year after the second of last September’s two devastating earthquakes, more than 1,000 buildings in Mexico City remain at a high risk of collapse, according to information lodged by residents on a government website.

According to Plataforma CDMX, 434 damaged buildings have been demolished in the 12 months since the September 19, 2017 quake rocked the capital but 1,008 buildings still standing are at “high risk” of collapse, 1,638 are at “medium risk” and 1,833 present a “low risk” of collapse.

The figures are based on expert reports and structural analyses filed on the Mexico City government portal by affected residents, many of whom were forced to abandon their homes.

Tláhuac, a borough in the southeast of the capital, has the largest number of high-risk buildings with 280, followed by the central borough of Cuauhtémoc with 196.

The sprawling eastern borough of Iztapalapa, Mexico City’s poorest and most populous, houses 139 high-risk buildings, the more affluent Benito Juárez to its west has 103, while 98 are located in the southern borough of Xochimilco, where one entire neighborhood was virtually flattened.

All 16 of the capital’s boroughs have buildings at a high risk of collapse, although three — Álvaro Obregón, Cuajimalpa and Milpa Alta — have just two buildings in the most precarious category.

Plataforma CDMX, an initiative of the city government’s Reconstruction Commission, says that buildings in the highest risk category “cannot be occupied and must undergo a project of reconstruction and structural reinforcement.”

However, organizations representing victims of the 7.1-magnitude quake, which struck 32 years to the day after the even more devastating 1985 earthquake, say that one of the biggest barriers they have faced in accessing government support for reconstruction efforts is that many homeowners, especially in apartment buildings, don’t have title deeds.

In response, the Mexico City government has announced that free legal assistance is available to quake victims to ensure that their rights as homeowners are protected.

The government has a 2018 budget of 6.85 billion pesos (US $365.3 million) for reconstruction efforts but according to the newspaper El Financiero, there is a lack of clarity about how the money is being used.

Scores of buildings fell in the capital during the earthquake that struck at 1:14pm on September 19 with an epicenter in the state of Puebla, and according to the organization Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI), corruption played a role in more than 40 collapses.

Source: El Financiero (sp) 

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