Mexico quake survivors clamor for aid

By Gabriel Moreno

TECOMAN, Mexico (Reuters) - Dazed and shaken survivors of the earthquake that killed 29 in western Mexico clamored for government aid on Thursday, hoping to quickly rebuild their homes, businesses and lives.

"The sky is in my house but the roof isn't," said Maria Felicita Lopez of Tecoman, one of six towns in the state of Colima that suffered the brunt of the damage from Tuesday night's 7.6 magnitude earthquake that left 30,000 homeless.

"We were told we would be helped, but that's it," she added.

President Vicente Fox toured the worst-hit areas in Colima by helicopter and on foot on Wednesday and promised rapid aid for victims including loans for people with damaged businesses and quick restoration of power and water services.

Civil defense authorities said the quake killed people in three neighboring states: 26 in Colima, two in Jalisco and one in Michoacan.

"There are no reports of people missing," said Carlos Gelista, head of the Interior Ministry's emergency management office. "It's probable that the (death) toll won't change."

Mexico City, hit by a massive earthquake that killed at least 10,000 people in 1985, escaped virtually unscathed, although buildings rocked violently and frightened people ran into the streets. The capital lies some 350 miles (500 km) from the quake's epicenter.

With government-shelters full in Tecoman, victims pulled salvageable belongings from amid the piles of concrete and glass and improvised shelters in streets, parks and soccer fields.

"Fox said he was going to help us but we don't know when," said Tiburcio Lopez, a 60-year-old mechanic. "They wrote our names down in a book but meanwhile we've got to live here (in the street). Our house is destroyed."

In Colima, some 800 homes were completely destroyed while 10,000 more will need repairs.

"One of the most serious problems we're going to face is housing," Colima Gov. Fernando Moreno told Reuters.


Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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