Thousands remain homeless weeks after powerful earthquakes rocked Mexico

World Today

Tens of thousands remain homeless weeks after powerful earthquakes rocked Mexico. Many are living in government sponsored shelters, while others are camping out near their crumbled homes.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras reports.

Ashley Lopez walked past evacuated apartment buildings, each containing 50 apartments. The 23-year-old brought CGTN to the place where his own apartment once stood.

Before the September 19th earthquake, it had five floors. When it collapsed, 25 of her neighbors, including children, were killed.

Lopez shared a one-bedroom apartment on the third floor with his mother and sister. His mom was the only one home when the building fell. They lost everything, including a few things that can’t be replaced.

“My father was a federal highway police officer,” Lopez said. “He died years before the earthquake. We lost his badge and family photographs of him.”

He wishes that local authorities would offer help more quickly.

“From the first day this happened, the help that has arrived has come mainly from civilians. There is no record that the local authorities have been here to help resolve this.”

Once a thriving neighborhood, it is now packed with tents. Lopez estimates at least 500 people who lived in the buildings are now homeless.

His sister, Karen, says the toughest part not having their own bathrooms.

“To bathe or wash our hands, we go to a nearby gym,” she said. “Someone also brought a truck with showers, but it is three blocks away.”

The city government also sent mobile kitchen this week to help feed people.

We walked a few more blocks, passing more evacuated buildings. Mexico’s federal government says it is creating a plan to help people finance purchase of new places to live. In the meantime, however, Ashley lives in a blue tent serving as a temporary home. He sleeps on an inflatable mattress next to a few pieces of clothing sent by his brother, listening to music during the cold nights.

Mexico City’s mayor says more than 2,000 buildings across this capital could still collapse. As of now, 160 buildings must be demolished.

Lopez and his family are planning to move into another apartment soon. But because no official inspector has come, they still do not know exactly why their building collapsed, but others just like it are still standing.