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Chile begins reconstruction of cities hit by February earthquake

Wednesday, July 21st 2010 - 06:16 UTC
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Devastation is still evident in downtown Talca and Curicó Devastation is still evident in downtown Talca and Curicó

Nearly five months after the Feb. 27 earthquake in Chile, the cities of Talca and Curicó, two of the hardest hit areas have begun the first steps to rebuild their historic centres, which together account for almost 364 blocks of severely damaged landscapes.

Many question how the cities will rebuild and how long the task will take. Though mediaguas, a form of temporary housing, were built to shelter citizens, the towns must also face the prospect of permanent rebuilding, while holding true to their culture identities and the architectural characters of the old centres, both rooted in their rich histories.

Talca is further along in this task. The city prepared a study funded by the Hurtado Vicuna group for a master reconstruction plan. And at first diagnosis, Talca’s plan is daunting: there are 928,000 square meters of land with buildings damaged, 54% of which contain homes, and 6,024 properties, 28% of which should be demolished and 33% requiring repairs.

The master plan calls for rebuilding and repairing 315 acres of the old town, between the streets 12 North and 14 South, and from the river to Route 5 south. This will include the creation of a park near the river, the remodelling of damaged neighbourhoods and the main street, the recovering of monuments and historic buildings, the establishment of green corridors, and the widening of streets with high traffic. Also, the city plans to increase green spaces per inhabitant from 2 to 9 square meters to reduce pollution.

Curico’s urban recovery is progressing at a slower pace. Some 50% of the 49 blocks from the old town have been damaged, with 500 buildings destroyed and an additional 1,500 with serious problems. The damage resulted in the loss of boundaries of streets and corners, and today the land is used as parking lots. Curico does not have private financing to create a master plan.

By Laura French – Santiago Times

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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  • harrier61

    Is Argentina lending any assistance? Thought not.

    Jul 21st, 2010 - 10:09 am 0
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