by Emilio Godoy
IPS News Agency
MEXICO CITY, Sep 27 2017 (IPS) – Maricela Fernández, an indigenous woman from the Ñañhú or Otomí people, shows the damages that the Sept. 19 earthquake inflicted on the old house where 10 families of her people were living as squatters, in a neighbourhood in the center-west of Mexico City.
The magnitude 7.1 quake, mainly felt in Mexico City and the neighboring states of Mexico, Morelos and Puebla, caused structural damage to the building, which like many other buildings in the city is in danger of collapsing.
The two-storey building, inhabited by indigenous families since 2007, had already been damaged by the 8.0 magnitude earthquake that claimed at least 10,000 lives on September 19, 1985 in the Mexican capital, exactly 32 years before the one that hit the city a week ago.
Since Sept. 19 “we have been sleeping outside, because the house is badly damaged and may collapse. We do not want to go to a shelter, because they could take the building away from us,” explained Fernández, a mother of two who works as an informal vendor.
The residents of the house, including 16 children, set up a tent on the sidewalk, where they take shelter, cook and sleep while looking after their battered house and belongings inside.
Fernández, a member of the non-governmental “Hadi” (hello in the Ñahñú language) Otomí Indigenous Community, told IPS that humanitarian aid received so far came from non-governmental organisations and individual citizens.
But she criticised what she described as disregard from the authorities towards them and the discrimination exhibited by some neighbors.
“It is unfair that they discriminate against us for being indigenous and poor. Nobody deserves that treatment,” she said.
The earthquake had a death toll of at least 331 people – mostly in Mexico City – while at least 33 buildings collapsed and another 3,800 were partially or totally damaged.
Most schools resumed classes on Monday Sept. 25, as did economic activity and administrative work, but thousands of students and employees are reluctant to return to their educational institutions and workplaces until they have guarantees that the buildings are safe.
A similar situation is faced by another Ñahñú community living in a different rundown, abandoned building in a neighborhood in the centre of the capital, which has a population of nearly nine million people and which exceeds 21 million when adding the greater metropolitan area.
“These are families who, because of their condition, have long occupied spaces in deplorable conditions, squatting for example on properties condemned since the 1985 earthquake…The recent earthquake left the properties uninhabitable. Authorities have told them that they cannot live in those buildings anymore.” — Alicia Vargas
After the earthquake they set up a camp in the street next to the building that is damaged but still standing, where they sleep, cook and eat. Their refusal to move to a shelter is due to the fear of eviction and the loss of their home and belongings….
Read the complete article: http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/09/marginalised-minorities-homeless-especially-hard-hit-mexicos-quake/