More than four months after September’s two devastating earthquakes, federal authorities have admitted that efforts to rebuild schools, especially in two southern states, are still facing delays.
In an interview with the newspaper Reforma, the head of the National Institute of Physical Infrastructure for Education (Inifed) said that reconstruction work has started on 16 of the 28 schools that were seriously damaged in Oaxaca.
In Guerrero, rebuilding of five schools has begun, Héctor Gutiérrez said. However, that’s less than half of the 12 schools that were seriously damaged in the state.
“. . . We need to place a little more emphasis on the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca, mainly” Gutiérrez said.
Overall, the federal agency — part of the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) — is currently completing reconstruction work on 156 of 209 schools that need to be completely rebuilt, the Inifed chief said.
“We have a deadline of approximately 180 days for the reconstruction, so by the month of June we should be finishing all these schools so that they are ready for the start of the next school year,” Gutiérrez said.
In Mexico City, which suffered extensive damage in the September 19 earthquake, work has started on all of the nine schools that were seriously damaged.
One wing of the private Enrique Rébsamen school in the southern borough of Tlalpan collapsed completely in the powerful quake, killing 26 people, including 19 children.
In Chiapas, where the first and strongest of September’s twin temblors caused significant damage, reconstruction work has started on three of four schools that require total reconstruction.
Across all affected states, Gutiérrez said, Inifed has installed 3,613 temporary classrooms, 88% of all the temporary classrooms it requested funds for.
However, the installation process was also plagued by delays and problems. Four temporary classrooms in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca collapsed in October, unable to withstand high winds.
Millions of students across 10 states couldn’t go back to school in the weeks following the earthquakes because they didn’t have safe classrooms to return to.
Overall, Gutiérrez said that the number of schools that sustained minor damage had risen to 12,009 in the latest SEP report, up from 10,700 in an earlier one.
According to the SEP, all of those schools have either been repaired or are in the repair process.
Source: Reforma (sp)