President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador yesterday pledged an additional 10 billion pesos (US $531.2 million) for earthquake recovery and criticized the outgoing government’s response to last September’s twin disasters.
The funds, destined for repair and rebuilding of homes, schools, hospitals and cultural heritage, will be made available through the National Reconstruction Program and complement resources provided by the Natural Disaster Fund (Fonden).
López Obrador announced the federally-funded reconstruction program during a visit to Ixtepec, Oaxaca, where he was met at the airport by protesters who claimed that the earthquake aid money they were promised has been withdrawn.
Speaking in the town’s central square, the future president also proposed creating an inter-ministerial reconstruction commission that would be overseen by powerful federal delegates and in which all three levels of government would participate.
The future president also visited Juchitán, the commercial hub of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region, which bore the brunt of the destructive 8.2-magnitude earthquake that struck just before midnight on September 7 last year.
While critical of the current government’s response to the two earthquakes, which together damaged thousands of buildings and left almost 500 people dead, López Obrador said that he was determined to look to the future.
“What’s already been done by those on the way out, well, there was already a public trial,” he said, referring to the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s crushing defeat in the July 1 elections.
“We’re going to do what corresponds to us and we’re going to look forward and get Mexico out of the backlog, the crisis, it finds itself in . . .”
President Enrique Peña Nieto’s sixth and final government report revealed that both Oaxaca and Chiapas have completed less than 40% of the reconstruction and repair work required and distributed less than 40% of the federal money they have received.
Thousands of people in the two southern states and parts of central Mexico including Mexico City are still waiting for their homes to be repaired or rebuilt a year after the two quakes struck.
Source: El Universal (sp)