Search teams not giving up on rescue efforts in Mexico
Rescuers, families holding out hope that more survivors can be found six days after deadly earthquake; Jonathan Hunt reports from the scene
Only one percent of Mexico City's schools were cleared to reopen Monday — nearly a week since a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the country, killing at least 319 people.
More than half of those killed — 181 — died in the nation's capital.
Rescue teams and searchers continued Monday to search through the rubble to locate survivors, even as hopes dimmed. And with resources diverted, and buildings crumbling, Mexico City's schools have suffered.
“For the safety of the boys, the girls, the teachers and for the peace of mind, of course, of all the fathers and all the mothers, all schools will be inspected,” Federal Education Secretary Aurelio Nuno said.
Authorities are now working to inspect and clear all of the city's schools, yet only 103 of Mexico City’s 9,000 private and public schools have been cleared to resume teaching students — meaning 98 percent of the city’s schools have not yet even been inspected.
The earthquake caused the collapse of 38 buildings and made 1,000 others uninhabitable. Where apartment and office buildings once stood, only empty spaces and debris remain. Thousands are now homeless.
The quake damaged 8,000 other properties, but the majority of those need only minor repairs.
Authorities and volunteer rescue workers used search dogs and thermal imaging devices to detect signs of life in the piles of debris. But few people have been found alive and many search sites are closing down. For many, the emotional toll is becoming too much.
“There is a lot of nervousness, a lot of desperation. This is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life, the worst,” said Dario Hernandez as he searched through a large pile of rubble for his missing family member.
The smell of death is present in the heaps of rubble, but residents and neighbors are continuing their search efforts.
“All of us are doing the most we can,” volunteer rescue worker Johny Yebra said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.