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Quality reconstruction

We must learn our lessons lest future generations pay a high cost for our mistakes
Collapsed building - Photo by Luis Cortés/EL UNIVERSAL
27/09/2017
09:00
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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After the earthquakes of September 7 and 19, there are hundreds of buildings which will be inhabitable due to the structural damage they suffered. The exact number is yet to be defined because several states are just beginning with the building survey and the victim census.

So far, Mexico City reports 500 collapsed buildings and properties to be demolished. For their part, the Institute of the National Housing Fund for Workers (INFONAVIT) states 980 housings are total loses, and 7,500 have partial damages.

The reconstruction task has now become the main challenge to overcome. It will require coordination effort and resources which, in the first place, shall have to be provided by the Federal Government and then by the society. If there have been budget cuts in public expense in recent years, then now more than ever we need to reallocate the items to get rid of lavishness and focus the money on the affected population.

Every cloud has a silver lining, and we must learn our lessons lest future generations pay dearly for it. The devastation left in the wake of the earthquakes must drive us to modify the construction regulations of those areas where seismic risks haven't been considered yet.

In Mexico City – where the construction standards are already stringent – the demand is that the corresponding authorities duly enforce the Law. The lives of thousands of people cannot be bargained by corrupt public officials and real estate businesspeople who skimp on structural safety for the sole benefit of their pockets.

This tragedy must also serve to boost an insurance culture currently lacking in our country. There are areas in Mexico where everyone should get house insurance. Most real estate credits include this protection, but when the mortgage is redeemed, the insurance is never renewed. We need to change our mentality and encourage an insurance culture to safeguard our estate – which has cost us years of sacrifices and we cannot afford to lose in a matter of seconds due to accidents or natural disasters.

Finally, we have the opportunity to start from scratch and rectify our way. In our fight against corruption within public agencies, businesspeople need to speak up and denounce. Authorities, on the other hand, need to demand compliance of real estate firms with the Law. We're just asking for good quality reconstruction works, for the sake of millions of people.

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