MEXICO CITY – The search and rescue operation in the Mexican capital following the magnitude-7.1 earthquake that struck central Mexico on Sept. 19 formally concluded on Wednesday with the retrieval of the last remaining body from the ruins of a building.
“There are no longer any people listed as missing as a result of the earthquake,” national emergency services coordinator Luis Felipe Puente said during a meeting chaired by President Enrique Peña Nieto.
The body found in the wee hours of Wednesday brought the quake death toll in Mexico City to 228 and the overall total to 369.
The bodies of all the victims have been returned to their families, Puente said.
Teams from Mexico and 15 foreign countries managed to pull 69 people alive from the wreckage of collapsed structures.
Marking the start of the recovery phase, Peña Nieto said that the federal government will provide Mexico City with resources equal to those provided for neighboring states battered by the Sept. 19 temblor and for the areas affected by the magnitude-8.1 quake that struck southern Mexico on Sept. 7.
In the case of the capital, he said, the municipal administration has ample resources of its own to draw upon.
“For every peso that the government is making available to assist the reconstruction of Mexico City,” Peña Nieto said, local authorities have “the capacity to add three more pesos.”
Finance Secretary Jose Antonio Meade said that his department was working with the city administration and government-owned housing lender Sociedad Hipotecaria Federal to “consolidate the transition from the emergency to reconstruction.”
The plan is to make available more than 6 billion pesos ($328.43 million) in mortgage loans for people whose homes were damaged by the earthquake, he said.