23 | FEB | 2019

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Building in Doctores quarter, Mexico City – File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Law & earthquakes

Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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The Law and its proper implementation are vital in offering a better future for thousands of people

To be left homeless in a matter of seconds is, in itself, cause for anguish and uncertainty. Currently, there are several families in our country facing this situation due to the earthquakes which shook Mexico last month. The Law and its proper implementation can be a vital support to offer a better future to thousands of people.

There were several collapsed buildings which were almost brand new or had few years of use. These are the cases which need to be investigated and where liabilities need to be assigned with due transparency.

After the search & rescue operations and the critical hours of the emergency pass, it's time to rebuild and strictly enforce our laws against the non-compliant construction companies colluded with public officials.

EL UNIVERSAL has documented examples of new buildings which collapsed despite the toughening of the new construction regulations established in 1985. There are several formal complaints against the construction companies for employing low-quality material and doubtlessly said companies are arguing their case. There could be several factors which played a role in building collapses – which is precisely why we need a full and transparent investigation.

According to the information made public by the Mexican Office of the Prosecutor for the Consumer (PROFECO), construction companies are required to provide a 5-year warranty for those who have acquired a new apartment. Therefore, if the building has structural damages because of the earthquake and the seller doesn't want to assume its responsibility, a lawsuit can be filed against the company before this Office.

A case where the investigation will be vital is the Enrique Rebsamen School, an education facility which collapsed on the September 19 earthquake and where several children died as a consequence. EL UNIVERSAL has already published how several expansions were built for the facility, including an apartment right on top of the class rooms. This was the area which crumbled. Was no authority supervising the building expansion?

Another aspect in which regulations and law will be key in case of emergencies is simplicity. It's necessary to cut all the complex processes which allow victims to access support or the possibility of acquire a new home. In Mexico City, the local government has said they will adopt a reconstruction and assistance law to skip the 3-month term required to begin demolishment works. Special attention centers will be enabled to tend to these contingencies.

There is no better way to help the victims other than amending the Law to speed up processes, and to make sure all investigations launched are in strict adherence with the Law.


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