Residents in a Mexico City neighborhood on Thursday paid homage to those who died and were injured in the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit the city on Sept. 19.
The nearly 100 people who organized the event congregated around a public monument in the neighborhood and hung flowers, balloons and stuffed animals as a shrine to the deceased. They sang, held hands and placed candles on the ground as night set in. They paid particular attention to the 19 children and seven adults who died inside of the Enrique Rebsamen High School after it collapsed.
Participants also used the event to vocalize their frustration with what they saw as unnecessary deaths. Protester Ricardo Rojas described what happened in the school as "unfortunate."
"If they had kept it closed, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said, referring to possible irregularities in the soundness of the school’s construction safety.
Some have said the building was coded as safe, but only received the city’s safety seal because of corruption among city officials and the construction company that built it. Rojas added that the school "always operated with irregularities.”
Seven other newly-constructed buildings, which should have been built according to seismic codes, were also destroyed, AFP reported.
In September alone, Mexico suffered two major earthquakes. The first with an epicenter in the state of Oaxaca on Sept. 7 at a magnitude of 8.1. The Sept. 19 quake’s epicenter was in Puebla, but Mexico City has seen the most deaths from the latter.
Their combined death toll is 345, with hundreds of people displaced and several people still missing in Mexico City. Nearly 3,000 buildings within the city are considered uninhabitable or need to be investigated.
The Mexican government estimates that it will take US$2 billion to fully rebuild from the damages caused by the two earthquakes.