|Still no cash for rebuilding Lorca
thinkSPAIN , Monday, July 11, 2011
| RESIDENTS in Lorca are still waiting for the promised funds to rebuild their homes, two months after the town was devastated by a massive earthquake.
The tremor, which occurred on May 11 and reached 5.2 on the Richter scale, caused nine deaths, 300 injuries and over a billion euros in property damage.
Thousands of people were left homeless as their houses were reduced to rubble in seconds.
A committee made up of members of the central, local and regional government, formed on May 25, still has not held one single meeting to assess the exact amount of funds needed to rebuild the town.
Mayor Francisco Jódar says he is 'very worried' by the delays, and has called for government bodies to cut the red tape and get on with giving his townspeople their lives back.
“They are working hard, and very intensively, on the demolition process – but we are all keen to see them start the reconstruction process, which will require massive investments and a huge amount of European funding,” Jódar states.
Jódar is also concerned about the valuations of people's ruined homes and business premises made by the Insurance Compensation Consortium – a government body which insures national disasters – since many of these have proven to be way too low for people to reconstruct their lost property.
He has called upon the Consortium not to be 'tight-fisted' because 'people don't want to fleece them, they just want to solve their problems and be able to live in their homes again'.
So far, the Consortium has received over 24,400 applications for the costs of rebuilding or repairing their homes, renting temporary accommodation and replacing their personal possessions and household goods.
The Consortium has paid out on just over 9,300 cases, to the tune of 40.6 million euros.
A further 14,000 people have applied for aid promised by the government, but have yet to see it.
Buildings are being demolished on a daily basis, with over 50 apartment blocks containing 400 homes, a high school, and a church, having already come down and a further 80 buildings still standing but in a precarious state.
Some 3,500 homes remain uninhabitable, and a total of 10,000 people are still homeless.
Skips full of rubble, removal vans and cranes fill the streets.
Whilst many people are living with relatives or in their second homes – apartments on the beach or country cottages – nearly 300 remain in temporary camps in the city.
The council says there are not enough rental properties to go round, which is causing prices to rocket and property speculators to rub their hands together.
They are attempting to persuade banks to let out some of the homes they have repossessed, and have been forced to allow the Red Cross to build pre-fabricated buildings, similar to those set up in Haïti, to house the homeless.
Drivers and pedestrians passing through the city are risking their lives, says the council, since parts of buildings are still threatening to collapse, including balconies, façades and cornices.
Psychologists believe they will have their work cut out with the huge number of cases of post-traumatic stress and subsequent severe depression likely to be suffered by many of Lorca's inhabitants.
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