Seismic sensors in Oaxaca that send signals to Mexico City warning of the imminent arrival of an earthquake may or may not be working.
With conflicting statements coming from two political leaders it comes down to choosing whom to believe.
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera said yesterday that sensors damaged by strong winds in the southern state were still not working.
On the other hand, Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat has maintained since Thursday that they are.
“The monitoring system is working,” Murat said in an interview with Imagen Radio, conceding only that a tower that collapsed in a recent storm might cause a delay of “a few seconds” in the signal being sent to Mexico City.
But at a press conference, Mancera presented a digital image which he said showed that signals were still not being received in the capital.
He added that according to the information he has received repairs are still ongoing.
Mancera’s version of events is backed up by the non-government organization responsible for administering the alert system.
The Center for Seismic Instrumentation and Registry (Cires) said that work to repair the 14 damaged sensors will take at least 15 days. The organization said that 10 sensors were affected by the tower’s collapse on January 30.
A further four sensors located in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region have been faulty since April 2017 due to a lack of regular maintenance, Cires said.
Its personnel are working in conjunction with state Civil Protection authorities to reestablish service in the affected areas. Cires said it had received 3 million pesos (US $160,000) from the National Disaster Fund (Fonden) to attend to the repairs.
Yesterday it was revealed that another communications tower where a repeater station is located, this one in Humo Chico, has also been damaged and might have an effect on the signal that is relayed to Mexico City.
Mancera initially said that Mexico City’s alert system would not sound if an earthquake occurred with an epicenter in Oaxaca.
However, he subsequently revised that statement, clarifying that the system would be activated but residents would have less time to react because it would rely on signals sent from states located closer to the capital, such as Puebla.
When the system is functioning optimally, Mexico City residents should have around 50 seconds to evacuate buildings before a Oaxaca-centered earthquake begins to be felt.