Eighty-four days after southeastern Mexico was rocked by an 8.2-magnitude earthquake, victims are still waiting for disaster relief funds in the Chiapas town of Triunfo de Madero.
Earlier this month contractors hired by the federal Secretariat of Agrarian, Land, and Urban Development (Sedatu) turned up to demolish what was left of the home of Teresa Toledo, one of the thousands of victims of the September 7 quake. She was advised that the demolition was necessary to start building again.
But the contractors have yet to return and help her erect her new home. Toledo is also patiently awaiting the arrival of the bank card which will give her access to the relief funds.
Mercedes Ruiz is another resident of the small ejido, or cooperative, located in the municipality of Cintalapa, and she too lost her home, where she lived with her son, César López, a bone cancer patient. They are still waiting for the funds as well, but at least a relative loaned them a house to stay in.
What little money they have is spent in spent on treating the López, so they are completely dependent on the relief money if they are to rebuild.
Rosenberg Velázquez’s home was structurally damaged during the earthquake but because it is still standing he will receive less money, the government having determined that it was only “partially damaged.”
Despite the constant risk of collapse — given the severe damage and constant seismic activity in the region — Velázquez and his family have remained in the family home because they have nowhere else to go.
A state lawmaker said this week that the money is forthcoming.
Williams Ochoa Gallegos, president of the state Congressional Earthquake Reconstruction Commission, said funds are being distributed gradually, and confirmed that there are still cards to be delivered.
“Last week we had delivered 70% of the cards,” he said, “and we expect to finish handing them out by December 15.
“If they haven’t received them yet, they will arrive soon,” vowed the congressman.
The homes of 173 families in Triunfo de Madero were deemed by officials to be partially damaged or destroyed. Word among residents is that 110, or just under two-thirds, of those families have received their reconstruction funds.
Source: Milenio (sp)