Quote of the moment

"I have to tell it again and again: I have no doctrine. I only point out something. I point out reality, I point out something in reality which has not or too little been seen. I take him who listens to me at his hand and lead him to the window. I push open the window and point outside. I have no doctrine, I carry on a dialogue." Martin Buber

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Embracing the Earthquake: Taking Accounting of Damage

[Fernando Rodriguez for The New York Times: A modern tower with structural damage underwent testing in Santiago. Many in Chile's capital are outraged at builders. From New York Times:  In Chile’s Capital, Damage Is Inside and Invisible ]

The insurance agent for our building came by today to take photos of our apartment, noting every crack and off-kiltered door jam and window frame. No word was given as to when things well be addressed and repaired. I pointed out that with each réplicas de terremotos (aftershocks or literally- replicas of the real thing) the cracking becomes larger and the likelihood of more molding will drop. The insurance agent stated that it would be months at best before we really see any repairs. Riding around town yesterday in a cab the crusty and wizened driver remarked how only the new buildings were the ones really damaged directing an accusing finger at all the shinny new buildings, bridges, and overpasses with cracks in them.  So much for bureaucratic oversight and all the document controls that have been established in the country. The insurance agent remarked that it appears buildings erected in the 1990's and early 2000 were greatly affected. Interestingly, that's right about when the military dictatorship handed power to a civilian government in 1990. Our building was erected in the 70's.

Do building and architecture --like the fine Chilean wines-- improve with age or politics?

Time to embrace my earthquake.

From New York Times: 
In Chile’s Capital, Damage Is Inside and Invisible
In many ways, her words sum up the state of Chile’s elegant, orderly capital 10 days after it was shaken by the 8.8-magnitude earthquake. While so much of the southern parts of this country lie in ruins, this city of high-rises and tree-lined boulevards appears mostly unscathed, a tribute, many say, to its strict building codes.

But many people in this city of 3.3 million still do not know if their lives will ever be the same. The worse off tend to be those left out of this country’s economic growth. They have also so far been left out of the government’s disaster relief efforts, focused mainly in the south.

Unsightly and unsafe camps, primarily occupied by Peruvian immigrants, have sprouted across the city’s historic center. In poor neighborhoods on the northern outskirts of the capital, thousands of people are still waiting for schools to reopen and basic services to be restored.

The poor are not the only ones living in limbo. Thousands of middle class families, without insurance or savings, have been forced to move in with friends and relatives after the quake left their shoddily built condominiums uninhabitable.

Read the full story:

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