Home reconstruction for earthquake victims is left incomplete

Citizens of Cuauhtémoc were not given enough money to rebuild their homes. SEDATU and BANSEFI have ignored their demands

Homeless earthquake victims are ignored by government agencies
At the common land of Cuauhtémoc, made up of around 800 houses, BANSEFI delivered a credit card to the owners of 500 houses, but most of them only received between 15 and 30 thousand pesos - Photo: Margarito Pérez Retana/EL UNIVERSAL
English 05/09/2018 13:39 Fredy Martín Pérez / Corresponsal Mexico City Actualizada 13:39
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Senior citizens Romelia Pérez Cruz and Félix González Estrada, of 94 and 96 years of age each have improvised a pavilion where their old house made of adobe and shingle once stood, in the center of the common land village, which was one of the most devastated populations following the earthquake of September 19, 2017. This has been their home ever since the catastrophe took away their home.

Nevy González Pérez, the son of the elders, used the 25,000 pesos he received to improvise a pavilion of no more than 20 x 20 feet, so that his parents could rest, watch television, and look at the village park from their window.

He gave the 25,000 pesos he received from the Ministry of Territory and Urban Development (SEDATU), as well as the National Savings and Financial Services Bank (BANSEFI) back to the public officials, who promised to build the house but left it incomplete, with no roof, no interior walls, no windows, nor doors.

At the common land of Cuauhtémoc, made up of around 800 houses, BANSEFI delivered a credit card to the owners of 500 houses, but most of them only received between 15 and 30 thousand pesos; in 210 other houses, the victims of the natural disaster only received two cards with 30,000 pesos each.

The money they received was insufficient to complete the reconstruction of their homes, partly due to the fact that building materials grew more expensive following the earthquakes, as well as the manpower from construction companies in the territory.

Elodia García Cordero has been staying at her daughter’s place for almost a year now, living with her two granddaughters and her son-in-law, Belisario López Gómez, who couldn’t afford to rebuild her home.

The woman had to ask for a 13,000 pesos loan with the pastor of the local church; 12,000 more with Belisario, and 5,000 with a bank in Villaflores.

Belisario, whose home was also damaged in its entirety, only received 15,000 pesos, but had to ask for a 50,000 pesos loan at a local bank. He shared the loan with his mother-in-law.

With that money, he could only afford to rebuild a part of his house, which still lacks interior walls, roofs, doors, windows, and a floor. He has been using a tent from the international community to store his belongings. Belisario estimates that he is in need of another 40,000 pesos to finish building the house located at the Callejón Sin Salida street. In the meantime, he will continue to live as a “refugee” with his mother-in-law.

A similar thing happened to Julita Rincón Moreno, 32, who assured that she and her husband Alember Molina, 35, only received 15,000 pesos, but in order to rebuild their house, they had to take a loan of 20,000 pesos which they are yet to pay off.

She told that, a few weeks after the earthquake, construction materials and masons’ salaries had grown more expensive.

Bricks arriving in Chiapa de Corzo, Villaflores, Suchiapa, and Coita were sold by the thousand for between 3,500 and 3,600 pesos; bags of cement were sold for between 195 and 200 pesos, while master-masons charged between 18 and 25 thousand pesos to build a house, but if they were hired by the day, they would charge 300 pesos for 8 hours of work. The earthquake victims had to pay 3,000 pesos each week.

Upon seeing that the victims’ demands were not met by public officials from BANSEFI and SEDATU, villagers closed roads and took over offices of the government bodies. After a 24 hour strike, the police came to the Villaflores municipality, where they were taken with the promise that they would be given their money in Tuxtla, but it was all a lie. The victims were given nothing. This was only one of many protests conducted by the villagers, but their demands were ignored.


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