Civil Protection director Puente reports on quake recovery efforts yesterday. Civil Protection director Puente reports on quake recovery efforts yesterday.

75% progress on rebuilding earthquake-damaged homes

Government has authorized 38 billion pesos for reconstruction

Almost eight months after September’s devastating earthquakes, 75% of damaged homes have been rebuilt, the National Civil Protection Coordinator said yesterday.

Luis Felipe Puente also told a press conference that all of the nation’s quake-damaged roads have been repaired but explained that the pace of work on damaged churches, monuments and 18th century-built schools has been very slow “because we want to preserve the culture of Mexico.”

In total, the federal government authorized just under 38.2 billion pesos (US $2 billion) for reconstruction work, Puente said, adding that state governments will also have to contribute to ongoing recovery efforts.

The official explained that many of the buildings damaged in Mexico City in the 7.1-magnitude earthquake on September 19 didn’t qualify for reconstruction aid from the federal National Disaster Fund (Fonden) because they didn’t meet vulnerability requirements.

However, he highlighted that private funds such as the Fuerza México trust are also providing resources to complement the government’s efforts.

Puente explained that authorities in each affected state have to determine what is the best model to rebuild and repair their damaged housing stock.

The governments of the states in central and southern Mexico that bore the brunt of the quakes have issued quarterly progress reports, which Puente said showed positive results although he didn’t cite specific progress percentages.

That claim contrasts with an assessment made by the non-governmental organization Save the Children México, which said six months after the earthquakes that the reconstruction process had been “alarmingly slow.”

Presidential spokesman Eduardo Sánchez, who accompanied Puente at yesterday’s press conference, highlighted that Mexico’s capacity to protect the lives of its citizens has been strengthened since the September earthquakes and that the country is now an international reference for best practices in civil protection.

“We can’t control natural phenomena, but through prevention it is possible to avoid personal, human and family tragedies. That’s what civil protection is about . . .”  he said.

Source:  Milenio (sp)

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