Over half of Lorca's buildings still hazardous

Government to review quake-resistant construction codes; Cabinet announces compensation packages for victims

A red circle marks 164 buildings in Lorca deemed dangerous because of structural damage from Wednesday's earthquakes. Experts had inspected 80 percent of constructions by Friday evening and tagged 12 percent in red, although this does not necessary mean they will be torn down, town hall officials said. A further 40 percent bear a yellow circle, indicating a continued risk of falling debris.

It remains impossible to estimate how many people in this town of over 92,000 residents will be unable to return home in the coming days (and in some cases, not at all). None of the sources consulted by EL PAÍS could specify the number of housing units inside the damaged buildings. Around 2,100 people slept in emergency camps on Wednesday night, said Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, which included a high proportion of the town's immigrants.

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Rubalcaba also announced that the government would review existing regulation on earthquake-resistant building codes. "With nine people dead and tens of thousands more out on the street, no serious country could do anything other than review all this," he said. Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero attended the funeral for four of the nine dead on Friday and visited the neighborhoods that were hardest hit by the quake. "The earthquake was hard, tough. It had an impact, but this country is even tougher, and so is its solidarity and its will to rebuild," he said.

On Friday the Cabinet approved a set of relief measures, including the right to claim up to 18,000 euros for permanent disabilities suffered, and some 6,000 euros a year to help pay rent if the claimant's home is off limits. Victims will also get special tax breaks and a postponement of social security payments.

Lorca Sutullena station after the quake.
Lorca Sutullena station after the quake.JASPER JUINEN (GETTY IMAGES)
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