Victims of bureaucracy

The earthquake uncovered the lack of protocols governments at all levels have to act in case of an emergency

Earthquake victims living on the streets - Photo: Luis Cortés/EL UNIVERSAL
English 10/10/2017 09:00 Mexico City Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 09:00
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The damage of the earthquake on September 19 will forever be etched in the memory of those who inhabited the disaster areas, who lost their properties, belongings, and even worse, a relative or friend. What happened three weeks ago is one of those cases where everyone can tell their story, and it will leave an indelible mark in all the members of a community.

After the emergency has been dealt with, it's time to turn around and look at the victims. Mexican society was the first to lend a hand and served as the communication channel between those who wanted to volunteer and those who were in need of help. Contrarily, the local and federal governments proved there was a lack of coordination between them, which only caused delays and generated obstacles in helping the earthquake victims.

Like EL UNIVERSAL publishes today, the victims in Mexico City who lost their properties due to the earthquake have encountered bureaucratic obstacles when trying to find what remains of their estate. That is, the authorities haven't been able to help them find their goods, which were salvaged by other civilians.

What is the priority of the reconstruction plans the local governments have devised in recent days? The question is a valid one, considering the scorn with which victims are being treated when they should be the priority in a long list of pending items involved in the reconstruction of a capital city, and of other affected states.

One of the realities the earthquake uncovered is the lack of protocols governments at all levels have to act in case of an emergency. Where there control or relief measures established to deal with such a phenomenon? Judging from the official response, it seems not. From there we can begin to explain the lack of coordination between the many institutions and authorities who collaborated in the search & rescue operations and the ones who will work on the reconstruction.

Regardless, those who are most vulnerable now to the government's lack of adequate planning are the victims. In this stage, instead of setting obstacles and dehumanizing the tragedy, authorities have the responsibility of addressing the needs of those who have lost their estate so the victims have the possibility of restarting their lives. This is the lesson the involvement of society has left – one the governments should learn from.
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