It was a “hellish” night for residents of the Chulavista neighborhood in Cabo San Lucas when tropical storm Lidia brought down a four-story residential building Thursday, an incident that a civil engineer blamed on poor construction.
Built almost three years ago, Chulavista offered “pretty, paved streets” and “flowers everywhere,” said Margarita, a resident of the area. But the dream didn’t last for along came Hurricane Odile.
“Everything changed then,” she continued. Buildings in the once idyllic Chulavista neighborhood “began to shift and water began to flood in.”
Margarita told the newspaper El Universal that residents had been asking for the government’s help ever since. “We asked to be relocated . . . but nothing happened.”
The nightmare they lived through in September 2014 was repeated Thursday night when Lidia arrived. Although not as strong as Odile, the storm brought heavy rainfall and severe flooding.
The floodwaters were enough to weaken the foundations of the four-story Conjunto Residencial Chulavista, which collapsed at about 10:00pm. There was one consolation for residents: no lives were lost as all the residents evacuated in time.
“The sound was horrible,” said resident Jessi Marieli. “I couldn’t believe it. We were all very scared.”
Emergency services were called “but nobody came.”
The building was one of two — the other was Conjunto Residencial Punto Nuevo in San José del Cabo — that collapsed during the storm, and both were built by Homex, a real estate and construction firm.
As far as engineer Tito Fénech Cardoza is concerned, Homex built the project “as it pleased,” neglecting to complete protective measures that had been ordered built due to the building’s proximity to a drainage canal.
Fénech, president of the Federation of Mexican Civil Engineers (Fecec), said both projects were in high-risk areas, and ended up being destroyed as a result of heavy rain.
He said the system of issuing construction permits needed to be examined at all levels.
Fénech also lamented the impunity that allowed such things to happen.
“. . . we’re the country in which nothing ever happens and there are consequences for no one.”
He described Homex’s performance as “shameful.”
The destruction in Chulavista, Cabo San Lucas. Photos by el jitomatazo