More stories of destruction and loss of human life are emerging in the aftermath of this week’s powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake, including the state of Puebla, where 45 people lost their lives.
Izúcar de Matamoros was one of the worst affected areas in the state.
Houses, businesses, churches and public offices were among hundreds of buildings that were severely damaged or collapsed across several towns and neighborhoods in the municipality, leaving thousands of people without their homes and their livelihoods.
Many of the buildings were built decades ago from adobe — sun-dried mud bricks — and were no match for the strength of the quake.
“We’re left without work, without income . . . without anything,” said Julián Torreblanca, a 67-year-old barber who worked at a business that crumbled to the ground in Tuesday’s temblor.
Torreblanca’s main concern now is how he will be able to support his family.
“The barbershop doesn’t exist anymore,” he said, pointing at the rubble.
“What do we do now? . . . I’m 67 years old and nobody will want to give me a job.”
Similar stories were heard across the municipality where entire streets remain covered in the rubble of fallen buildings, and people are still shaken by the disaster. Beyond material losses, two girls died in the municipal seat.
One was crushed by a wall that collapsed while another was trampled to death in a stampede of people rushing to get out of the town’s main market.
More devastation occurred in the municipality of Atlixco, about 30 kilometers southwest of the state capital at the foot of the Popocatépetl volcano.
Hundreds of homes were severely damaged including around 70% of all buildings in the town of Metepec, where scores of homes collapsed completely. One Metepec resident whose house collapsed says she “will have to start from zero” and called for the donation of blankets and tents for people who have been forced to sleep in the street.
Yet more reports have emerged from other municipalities and authorities declared a state of “extraordinary emergency” in 112 of them, equivalent to just over half the state’s total area.
Across the entire state almost 10,000 buildings were damaged in some way by the quake, Governor José Antonio Gali said, and at least 1,700 homes have been rendered uninhabitable.
Many of the state’s hospitals, schools and other public infrastructure including churches and museums were among the damaged buildings.
President Enrique Peña Nieto visited the municipality of Chiautla de Tapia yesterday alongside the state governor where he said a census to fully determine the extent of damage in the state would be carried out in the coming days.
He also committed federal government support for rebuilding in the affected areas.