Friday, March 1, 2024

A week on, homeless earthquake victims in Guerrero protest lack of aid

No major damage was initially reported but it has come to light that last Tuesday’s powerful earthquake damaged almost 8,000 homes in Guerrero.

Governor Héctor Astudillo said Sunday there were reports of 7,800 damaged homes and 15,000 people affected by the 7.1-magnitude quake.

“Without a doubt, it must be said, the earthquake has revealed its reach to us. Up until today, the damage is very different” than we initially thought, he said.

The governor said that 694 of the damaged homes are in Acapulco, located just 14 kilometers from the quake’s epicenter.

Homes, schools, hospitals, hotels, churches and other buildings were also damaged in municipalities such as Chilpancingo, Coyuca de Benítez, Atoyac de Álvarez and Chilapa de Álvarez.

Astudillo called on the federal government to help repair the damage and provide assistance to victims.

His remarks came after families from Xaltianguis, a town 40 kilometers inland from Acapulco, blocked the Chilpancingo-Acapulco highway for more than three hours on Saturday to protest the lack of government assistance after their homes were damaged in the earthquake.

The residents only agreed to lift their blockade after Astudillo arrived and pledged to send sleeping mats to the town as well as Civil Protection personnel to inspect the 450 severely damaged homes, among which were 150 that collapsed.

In Chilpancingo, 60 families who live in a government-built residential development were forced to abandon their homes after last week’s quake, the newspaper Reforma reported.

“We’re definitely not going back because the houses have cracks and with another slight quake they’ll come down,” said one resident.

Edith Díaz Gómez said that some families have gone to shelters but most are bunking down with relatives.

Life goes on in a Guerrero home
Life goes on in a Guerrero home where a wall collapsed.

“We’re going to ask the government to pay the monthly rent for a house because it’s impossible for us to continue living with our relatives,” she said.

In some other Guerrero communities, families have been sleeping outside due to fear their homes could collapse in another quake or aftershock, of which there have been hundreds since the strong temblor struck just before 9:00 p.m. last Tuesday.

Astudillo said the victims’ plight was worsened by rain and stressed the importance of “solidarity” during the trying times.

Some Guerrero residents were also left without power for days after the earthquake but the governor said Sunday that service had been restored across the state with the exception of just a few communities.

Felt in at least 13 states, the quake caused three deaths, including that of a 14-year-old boy in a rural area of the municipality of Acapulco. He and one other person were crushed by walls that fell amid violent shaking while a third person was killed by a lamppost that toppled during the temblor.

With reports from Reforma, Milenio, Televisa and Animal Político 

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