Spanish version

CIVIL DEFENSE

Houses damaged by heavy rains to be demolished

The homes are located in San Miguelito.

Spanish version

Temas:

Some 90 houses will be demolished in Samaria, San Miguelito, due to damage they suffered in recent storms.

This figure may vary after an inspection of the area today, said José Donderis, director of the civil defense agency Sinaproc.

The demolition was recommended by experts from the Panamanian Society of Engineers and Architects and city planners.

At a meeting yesterday, Minister of Housing Mario Etchelecu unveiled several alternatives that are being evaluated for those affected by the situation.

The official said that the state will assume the cost of housing, which could be in the range of $50,000 per house.

According Etchelecu, the Department of Social Development will look for options of homes in existing developments, then provide a list of options to the victims.

Other options raised by individuals were acquiring foreclosures, renting temporary housing or building new buildings on the land.

In the neighborhood, a number of moving trucks were seen as residents loaded what could be salvaged from their homes prior to the demolition.

Through tears, hugs and handshakes as the residents said goodbye to their neighbors. The process was overseen by officials from Sinaproc, police, the Panama Fire Department and the Ministry of Housing.

Panamanian Society of Engineers and Architects (SPIA) President José Batista said the situation stresses the importance of proper studies in the construction of housing projects.

Batista recalled that when he was deputy minister of Housing, he had to relocate people who were victims of flooding in Las Garzas, Pacora.

In the case of San Miguelito, he stressed that this is an area with a topography that makes houses there prone to disasters.

Developer Geronimo Espitia agreed that more regulations are needed. 

"We must do studies of watersheds, soil and other factors to have a scientific basis to guide development," he said.

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