The News
The News
Thursday 22 of April 2021

Mexico City Risk Atlas


Rébsamen school, which collapsed during the earthquake,photo: Cuartoscuro/Armando Monroy
Rébsamen school, which collapsed during the earthquake,photo: Cuartoscuro/Armando Monroy
Reality has it that the Atlas should be there on-line for all home buyers to check out the property they are purchasing and the ground it is built over

It is wonderful to hear that through satellite imagery scientists from the California Institute of Technology as well as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA) have come up with what they have officially called “The Raboso Earthquake” that rocked Mexico City on Sept. 19, 2017.

It is wonderful that they said that the most affected parts of the region affected by the “Raboso Earthquake” were in all the places we know about — Puebla, Morelos, and Mexico City particularly in the Condesa and Roma neighborhoods — and were shot by the Sentinel A and B satellites. In case you’re interested, you can view them here and here.

But I’ve got bad news for you. There is a nearly secret official document known as the Mexico City Risk Atlas in which all the potential danger areas were deeply studied, carried out under former Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard’s (2006-2012) administration at a cost of over $100 million pesos (the pesos that cost 14 to one before “the devaluator” Enrique Peña Nieto) and is a document all boroughs use to make fund requests from the city government.

Truth is that I have heard before about the Mexico City Risk Atlas but it was my colleague Enrique Galván Ochoa who in his column “Dinero” of Sept. 26 brought it up and with a good reason: all risk seismic zones are perfectly detected in the Atlas and what is shocking that once again authorities act as if caught off-guard by a “little” 7.1 on the Richter scale quake.

I must point out that Enrique Galván and yours truly have been long-time pals and I personally helped him in the aftermath of the Sept. 19, 1985 8.2 points on Richter earthquake that destroyed Mexico City back then, and his sixth-floor apartment at Juárez neighborhood was one of them. I gave him temporary abode until the evening of Sept. 20, when a 6.7 aftershock hit again and at that moment he made the decision to move out of the city with his wife and little daughter.

In many an investigation afterwards we found out that back then the city did not indeed have a Risk Atlas and the idea of doing one came to fruition even if 20 years later.

Galván Ochoa asks in his column in daily La Jornada questions about the Mexico City Risk Atlas.

“Why did it cost so much? There is no official explanation. However, that’s a secondary issue given the doubts awoken its hiding. Says social activist at Miguel Hidalgo borough Gustavo García that ‘many of the borough programs make reference to it.’ The point being, nobody even knows of it,” he writes.

Galván Ochoa suspects that the Mexico City Risk Atlas has been shoved into oblivion by authorities during the current Miguel Ángel Mancera Administration (2012-2018) under pressure from the humongous lobbying of real estate market representatives.

Reality has it that the Atlas should be there on-line for all home buyers to check out the property they are purchasing and the ground it is built over. He quotes again Gustavo García with the answer as to why it is –not secret – but a hidden document:

“Hiding the Atlas facilitates real estate speculation.”

Needless to say, García seems to be right but remembering the Risk Atlas also points a finger at Civil Protection authorities who have left buyers unprotected.

Greetings from here to Galván Ochoa who ran away from the 1985 quake and moved to Morelos near the epicenter of “The Raboso Earthquake.” No doubt that my friends are from the first rock generation and like shaking and a rolling.