Hopes for Mexico quake survivors dim as search enters sixth day

Rescue prospects continue to be dim, after Mexico faced its deadliest earthquake in 32 years
 

24 September 2017, 9:59am
Mexican and international rescue teams remove a painting as they search for survivors in a collapsed building after an earthquake, at Roma neighborhood in Mexico
Mexican and international rescue teams remove a painting as they search for survivors in a collapsed building after an earthquake, at Roma neighborhood in Mexico
Emergency workers searched by floodlight in smashed buildings for survivors of Mexico’s deadliest earthquake in 32 years amid fading rescue prospects, 5 nights after the disaster.

The search continued in a ruined office building in Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood and a five- storey apartment in historic Tlalpan after Tuesday’s 7.1 quake toppled dozens of buildings and killed over 300 people.

The temblor, Mexico’s worst since a 1985 quake killed thousands, may have left some 30,000 badly damaged homes in the adjacent states of Morelos and Puebla and economic losses of $4 billion to $8 billion.

But authorities called off efforts in the upper-middle class Linda Vista zone, after pulling ten bodies from the rubble, while work at the Tlalpan-based apartment building was briefly halted on Saturday due to a magnitude 6.2 earthquake that shook southern Mexico and spread fear in the capital.

The government’s response to the disaster is under close scrutiny ahead of a presidential election next year.

Frustration has grown among the thousands left homeless by Tuesday’s quake with critics saying the government reaction pales in comparison to an outpouring of volunteer support, from rescue work to food donations.

When Tuesday’s quake hit, Mexico was already reeling from an earthquake three weeks ago, that killed at least 98 people and was the strongest in the country in 85 years.

Aftershocks on Saturday spread fear among Mexico’s traumatized population, and a plume of ash spewed from the Popocatepetl volcano in another reminder of the country’s volatile geology.

President Enrique Pena Nieto sought to hit back against the criticism, highlighting government aid for survivors on a tour Saturday of Jiquipilas in the poor Southern state of Chiapas, which was badly hit by the Sept. 7 quake.

“Be assured that the federal government is here, the state and local governments, supporting you, hand in hand, to rebuild,” he said.