Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Federal auditor finds fault with census of earthquake damage

The government’s census to assess damage and identify victims after last year’s two devastating earthquakes was incomplete and hindered the distribution of financial aid, the Federal Auditor’s Office (ASF) has found.

The ASF review of the census, which was conducted by the Secretariat of Agrarian Development and Urban Planning (Sedatu), determined that 2.45 million homes that sustained damage in either the September 7 or September 19 earthquakes were not identified by the federal department.

Sedatu only completed a census in 377 of 720 municipalities where the powerful quakes caused damage and consequently failed to include 8.75 million affected people on its registry.

“The results of the audit showed that in 2017, Sedatu did not collect information from all municipalities listed among those with natural disaster and extraordinary emergency declarations . . . It only carried out the process in 52.4% of affected municipalities and [Mexico City] boroughs,” the ASF said.

However, in municipalities where Sedatu did send personnel to conduct the census, the ASF also identified deficiencies.

Of 4.6 million homes located in the municipalities that were assessed, only around 172,000, or 3.7% of the total, were inspected.

Sedatu also supplied contradictory and duplicate information to the federal auditor and didn’t explain why it failed to carry out the census in all affected municipalities, the ASF said.

Rosario Robles is the secretary responsible for Sedatu, which has been accused of diverting large quantities of money through bogus companies.

More than a year after the twin temblors of September 2017, thousands of people in southern and central Mexico remain without adequate housing.

Reflecting the federal auditor’s finding, some people say that damage at their homes was never assessed and they didn’t receive any government aid to carry out repairs, while others have complained that the amounts they received were insufficient.

Up to 120,000 pesos (US $6,600 at the time) was granted to people who lost their homes completely due to collapse, severe ruptures or foundation displacement while owners of homes with repairable damage such as cracks in the floors or the partial collapse of a wall or roof received 30,000 pesos.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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