Peña Nieto touring earthquake reconstruction in Chiapas. Peña Nieto tours earthquake reconstruction in Chiapas.

Quake rebuilding is slower than predicted

Removing rubble is a bigger task than expected, says president in Chiapas

Rebuilding after the September 7 earthquake is taking longer than predicted in Chiapas, President Enrique Peña Nieto admitted yesterday, because removing rubble has proven to be a bigger challenge than expected.

During a visit to the coastal community of Bahía de Paredón in the municipality of Tonalá, Peña Nieto said he couldn’t guarantee that reconstruction efforts would be finished by the year’s end.

“I believe that in two months we will be very advanced [but] I can’t guarantee that we will have all houses rebuilt . . .” he said.

He said the removal of massive amounts of rubble had slowed the process down considerably.

“It’s been a great challenge . . . removing everything, cleaning the land [and] . . .  above all bringing machinery both to Chiapas and Oaxaca. There are more than 400 machines working here,” he explained.

There was, however, a positive aspect to the president’s visit.

In a symbolic gesture, Peña Nieto handed over the keys to the owners of the first new houses in the community that were built with funds provided by the Natural Disaster Fund (Fonden). Once a property had been cleared of debris, he said, a new home could be built in as few as 11 days.

Sixty-thousand homes were damaged in the southern state that, along with Oaxaca, took the brunt of the 8.2-magnitude earthquake whose epicenter was off the Chiapas coast. Nine-thousand of the houses either collapsed completely or sustained irreparable damage.

Accompanied by Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño and state Governor Manuel Velasco, Peña Nieto also assured residents that the town would have a new medical clinic within four months.

Bahía de Paredón

Velasco stated that additional funds provided to affected families in Bahía de Paredón would now only be distributed to women in response to numerous complaints that their husbands had spent the money drinking in local cantinas. Nuño said every damaged school in the state would be rebuilt.

Several other parts of the country are also undertaking a huge rebuilding task in the wake of last month’s two devastating earthquakes.

More than 7,000 homes required demolition in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec town of Juchitán alone after the September 7 quake while rebuilding and repairs to buildings damaged during the September 19 temblor in central states including Morelos, Puebla, México state and Mexico City will likely take several months, along with billions of pesos.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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