Mexico Earthquake Humanitarian Situation Report No. 8 - 10 November 2017

Situation Report
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  • Reports from the Office of the President show an updated number of 184,000 households, 175 health facilities and 16,000 schools damaged by the 7 and 19 September earthquakes. Reconstruction has started in 4,000 schools, which means that 75% of severely damaged schools are yet to start demolition and rebuilding. More than 73,000 families in Chiapas and Oaxaca have received support for house reconstruction. (Source: Presidency. 7 November)

  • Reconstruction will require ~US$2.5 billion, one tenth of which is expected to come from the private sector. A webpage has been opened to access information on the use of these resources:

  • The Minister of Education has announced the installation of 4,000 temporary learning spaces throughout the country. (Source: SEP. 9 November)

  • Civil society in Mexico City is organizing a protest movement to demand that repairs and reconstruction of their houses should be financed with public resources. They have rejected government credits for such purpose. (Source: La Jornada, 10 November)

  • UNICEF´s response plan continues to be implemented: 34 out of 38 planned Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) have been installed; 300 school in a box kits have been delivered, along with 100 temporary learning spaces and 2,400 hygiene kits.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Reconstruction is the current topic of debate for the Government of Mexico, almost 2 months after the two earthquakes. Most safety verifications of houses, public and private buildings have supposedly concluded, and the Civil Protection Authorities have identified infrastructures that are subject to demolition and those which qualify for compensation. Among the five earthquake-affected states, the State of Puebla has proven its leadership in terms of resumption of school classes; Puebla is where UNICEF was primarily requested to assist in terms of provision of temporary learning spaces (TLS). Other states, such as Morelos, Chiapas and Oaxaca, have started to request TLS assistance only two months following the earthquakes. Chiapas and Oaxaca have been awaiting prefabricated classrooms as a condition to reopen classes; however, in the particular case of Chiapas, out of 2,173 damaged and severely damaged schools, only 250 prefabricated classrooms have been distributed amongst these schools, and there is no indication yet as to who is expected to fill the gap. In addition to the lack of classrooms, water and sanitation facilities in schools have also been damaged, but there are no plans so far at the state level on how to address these issues. Given the delayed response in temporary solutions for classrooms, communities have hinted that schools may have to be reopened only after full reconstruction is finalized, which is projected to be by April 2018 in some municipalities; this would translate into a loss of 8 months in a full school year for children attending schools in these states. In addition, the Ministry of Education at the federal level has mentioned that Guerrero and the State of Mexico, which were partially affected by the earthquakes, are in great need of temporary learning spaces, school kits and training of teachers.

The current cash transfer program for house reconstruction is at the centre of controversy, with reports that the cash cards, distributed to the affected population by the government’s development bank BANSEFI, were cloned and that beneficiaries have complained that the funds in these cards have suddenly disappeared after being used once, or that there were charges on the card with purchases from other states. These complaints have been received by UNICEF staff during a monitoring mission from 1-3 November 2017, particularly in Oaxaca State, and have also been reported widely in the national media