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Mexico City residents displaced by earthquake finally home

An aerial view of the Multifamiliar Tlalpan in Mexico City, Saturday, Feb 8, 2020. Before the 2017 earthquake, which killed more than 200 people in the capital, the complex was home to 500 families. The residents have trickled back since November as workers finished on one building and then another. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)
An aerial view of the Multifamiliar Tlalpan in Mexico City, Saturday, Feb 8, 2020. Before the 2017 earthquake, which killed more than 200 people in the capital, the complex was home to 500 families. The residents have trickled back since November as workers finished on one building and then another. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — After more than two years of protests, including campouts, dozens of families displaced by the 2017 earthquake in Mexico City have a new home: a five-story building that stands where their former apartments pancaked, killing nine people.

The new structure is “a historic emblem of righteous fights,” resident Francia Gutierrez said Saturday as the building was officially opened.

Rather than taking out loans, residents of the Multifamiliar Tlalpan pooled together to pressure the government to rebuild with public funds and donations.

Gutierrez's building is one of 10 low-rise towers in a community designed to house government workers in the middle of the last century. Eight of the other buildings have been reinforced with steel crossbars, while a ninth has yet to be remodeled.

Before the earthquake, which killed more than 200 people in the capital, the complex was home to 500 families. The residents have trickled back since November as workers finished on one building and then another.

Multifamiliar Tlalpan was constructed in 1957 as an optimistic experiment in urban planning in what was then a suburb south of the megalopolis.

Wide walkways shaded by trees connected the buildings, with a basketball court for the kids and a small shopping center underneath to buy tortillas or visit the doctor. At one point the complex even boasted a preschool, elevated on stilts and shaped like the Jetsons' house.

Several generations have called Multifamiliar Tlalpan home over the decades, as retired nurses and teachers passed properties down to their children. During a tour Saturday, one building manager pointed to a woman in a wheelchair, saying she looked after him when he was a child.

That deep sense of community helped the neighbors come together the day of the earthquake, when many dug through rubble in hopes of finding survivors, as well as in the many months it took to rebuild.

Associated Press

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