Mexico tallies the cost of deadly earthquake

The earthquake “has the potential to be one of Mexico’s costliest natural catastrophes.”

Mexican government officials are tallying up the economic losses of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that caused widespread damage in the capital, but for the manager of a downtown restaurant, the result is already all too clear.

Sitting in the entrance of his Guapa Papa restaurant Monday, surrounded by caution tape, Antonio Luna said: “This is a bust. It’s already closed due to structural damage to the building.”

He had to let go the three dozen employees at the 1950s-themed restaurant and is just trying to salvage whatever furniture and equipment wasn’t damaged.

“In the end the company let everyone go because it couldn’t continue having expenses,” Luna said.

Related: The search for survivors continues in Mexico

Moody’s Investors Service said in a report Monday that the Sept. 19 earthquake that has killed at least 326 people in the capital and nearby states “has the potential to be one of Mexico’s costliest natural catastrophes.”

Alfredo Coutino, Latin America director for Moody’s Analytics, said they were still collecting data on losses, but a preliminary estimate was that the earthquake could knock 0.1 to 0.3 percentage point off growth in Mexico’s gross domestic product in the third and fourth quarters.

For the full year, the impact on gross domestic product should be about 0.1 per cent. “The impact on the year’s growth will be small, particularly considering that the reconstruction work will compensate for some of the total loss in activity during the fourth quarter,” Coutino said.

Money is expected to pour into the economy as Mexico City and the federal government tap their disaster funds. As of June, the city’s disaster fund stood at 9.4 billion pesos (more than $500 million), making it slightly larger than the national fund, according to a Moody’s Investors Services report.

Of course, the national fund also has to deal with recovery from the even stronger Sept. 7 quake that has been blamed for nearly 100 deaths, mostly in the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.

There will be months of work ahead from demolition to repairs and reconstruction.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said that 360 “red level” buildings would either have to be demolished or receive major structural reinforcement. An additional 1,136 are reparable, and 8,030 buildings inspected so far were found to be habitable.

At least 38 buildings, including apartments and office buildings, collapsed during the earthquake.

Mexico’s education ministry also has 1.8 million pesos to spend on school repairs. In Mexico City alone, only 676 of the city’s 9,000 schools had been inspected and cleared to resume classes, Education Secretary Aurelio Nuno said Monday.

AIR Worldwide, a Boston-based catastrophe modeling consultant, provided a wide range for industry-insured losses, but noted they would be only a small part of the total economic losses. It put the insured losses at between 13 billion pesos ($725 million) and 36.7 billion pesos ($2 billion).

Related: 50,000 evacuate as Bali volcano swells

A graceful traffic roundabout encircled by restaurants, cafes and shops is now a sprawling expanse of medical tents, piles of food and other relief supplies, and stacks of building materials. While relief work went on outside Monday, men were busily wrapping furniture in foam and plastic inside the Antiguo Arte Europeo store.

Stone panels on the building’s facade appeared cracked or were altogether missing. Saleswoman Luisa Zuniga said the owners were waiting for civil defence inspectors to certify there was no structural damage to the building before reopening to the public.

Meanwhile, they were moving furniture that could still be sold to their other branches.

“Then we’ll see how long it takes to fix everything,” she said. “It is important to get back to work.”

Edgar Novoa, a fitness trainer, went back to his job Monday after working as a volunteer following the earthquake. Around midday, he stopped his bicycle at a cleared foundation where a building of several stories had stood near his home.

He knelt and prayed while others left flowers and candles at the site.

___

Associated Press photographer Moises Castillo contributed to this report.

Christopher Sherman, The Associated Press

Just Posted

VIDEO: Antique gun show a big hit in Chilliwack

The annual Historical Arms Antique Show has a huge variety of guns, knives, antiques and more

Gas prices spike in Lower Mainland

Two of B.C.’s major fuel suppliers are undergoing maintenance

Volunteers help with Gwynne Vaughan Park spring cleanup

Warm weather draws gardeners to Gwynne Vaughan Park for annual cleanup

Chilliwack Chiefs behind eight ball after game two loss to Prince George

The Chiefs were way better than they were in game one, but Prince George squeaked out a 3-2 win.

Pro-pipeline convoy rolls through Chilliwack

Hope for Canada was a convoy in support of the Canadian oil and gas industry and against Bill C-69

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

Driver dies in fiery crash in Coquitlam

Police say speed was factor in single vehicle collision

Facebook announces changes to political advertising to meet new federal rules

Bill C-76 bans the use of money from foreign entities to conduct partisan campaigns

National Arts Centre spotlights Indigenous and female artists in upcoming season

Other musical offerings include a salute to Canada’s Indigenous composers

Travel expected to be slowed by fallout from fire at Toronto’s Pearson airport

All U.S.-bound flights from Terminal 1 were cancelled Sunday night after the fire broke out near a security checkpoint

Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government

Leivo nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Stars 3-2

Schaller scores first 2 goals of season for Vancouver

UBC study shows honey bees can help monitor pollution in cities

Scientists analyzed beehives in high density urban areas to those off on Galiano Island

Most Read