19S: Millions donated to the survivors are missing

A year after the September 19 earthquake, thousands of survivors haven't received help; they have been forced to protest and block highways to receive aid

19S: Millions donated to the survivors are missing
Mexicans came together to rescue survivors, yet the government has turned its back on them – Photo: Sishenka Gutiérrez/EFE
English 06/09/2018 09:10 Mexico City Newspaper Leader Actualizada 09:16
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After the earthquakes that took place last year, on September 7 and 9, national and international donations poured in to support those who lost everything. Fundraisers, auctions, and even concerts were organized, with the purpose to raise funds for the survivors. Governments designated special budgets, but a year later, there are resources that are nowhere to be found, as it is unknown if they were used for the reconstruction.

Today, EL UNIVERSAL publishes that it is impossible to keep track of hundreds of million pesos that were meant to be used to help the survivors of the earthquake, which affected eight regions.

The Tax Administration Service (SAT) reported that until May 31, this year, 677 institutions had raised funds worth over MXN $3,904 million, and 38% belonged to five grantees. From the total amount raised, the SAT says that only MXN $1,994 million were used. Nevertheless, it's not clear how the resources were used, as it is difficult to prove that MXN $857 million were used for the reconstruction, as it was informed that they were used to cover “other expenses”. The situations worsen because several million were used by organizations with no name or business name.

Can hundreds of millions go missing?

No, they can't go missing, although they can be embezzled through groups who don't report their finances or they just report that they spent several millions in “other” categories and not in housing, rescue missions, or food.

These are premeditated actions that were planned by several people or organizations. The authorities have the obligation to investigate, as the thousands of survivors are in need of help, 12 months after the earthquake.

In October 2017, a month after the earthquake, Ofelia, a 78-year-old woman, and Alberto, 77 years old, from the Villaflores municipality in Chiapas, were promised a home. They only received MXN 30,000 instead of the MXN $120,000 they were promised.

This is the way in which public servants manage others' misfortunes. They take a picture with the survivor, they promise everything they can think of, and very little is achieved. Federal and local authorities announced immediate help, but they didn't carry out their commitments.

In many cities, the survivors have organized themselves, and only by demonstrations and blocking highways they have received help from the government. On the other hand, because of their age, Ofelia and Alberto have lost all hope and say: “We lost the hope that we will receive any help”.



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