A house is demolished after it sustained earthquake damage in September. A house is demolished after it sustained earthquake damage in September.

Reconstruction to take all of next year: Murat

It will cost 8 billion pesos to repair damages in 56 municipalities

Reconstruction work in Oaxaca following extensive damage caused by earthquakes in September will require all of next year, the governor of the southern state remarked yesterday.

Alejandro Murat said that while federal, state and municipal governments are committed to completing rebuilding efforts as quickly as possible, the fact that countless buildings were damaged meant the process would take all of 2018.

Reaching a more advanced stage of reconstruction by the end of March was the current objective, Murat said, in accordance with a goal set by President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Parts of the state, especially the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region, were devastated by the September 7 earthquake, an 8.2-magnitude shock that was one of the most powerful ever recorded in Mexico.

Four days after the September 19 earthquake that caused widespread destruction in central Mexico, there was another smaller quake centered in Oaxaca that caused further damage and fatalities in the state.

Considering that 2018 is an election year, Governor Murat also proposed implementing measures to protect earthquake aid from being used by political parties for their own benefit, although he said that any attempts to do so would likely be rejected anyway.

Anyone who tries to politicize aid will run into opposition from the affected residents, Murat said, adding that “in these times, you can’t deal with a tragedy politically.”

Fifty-six municipalities in the state were affected by the quakes and the rebuilding efforts will cost more than 8 billion pesos (US $418.7 million), he added.

The governor also said that the demolition of damaged houses and buildings has practically finished and that more than 63,000 stored-value bank cards have been distributed to affected families, allowing them to buy materials to start the rebuilding process.

Murat played down cases of fraud which resulted from the cloning of cards, saying that less than 20% of beneficiaries had been affected and the problems have now been resolved.

“I understand that every reported case has been dealt with by . . . [federal savings bank] Bansefi and the money has been recovered,” he said.

Some earthquake victims got an unpleasant surprise last month when they found their cards were devoid of funds.

Yesterday, the Oaxaca government also took possession of two ambulances — one for land and one for sea — donated by the government of Turkey for use in quake-affected areas.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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