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Lorca Earthquake : 7 Weeks on

Wed 29th Jun 2011

Seven weeks to the day since two earthquakes struck the Murcia town of Lorca, leaving behind the loss of 9 lives and dozens of damaged buildings, and the town is still struggling to return to normality.

It was in the late afternoon of May 11th that the worst earthquake seen in Spain for over 50 years struck - first at 4.6 and then at 5.2 on the Richter scale, that caused the loss of life, which was due largely to falling masonry due to the precarious nature of the Town's historic buildings.

A number of controlled explosions have taken place this week to level buildings that have been damaged beyond repair and it may be weeks until the rubble has been cleared and plans can begin for new buildings to stand in their place.

The Minister for Culture, Ángeles González-Sinde, put the cost of restoring the town's historical buildings alone at over € 50 million, and does not take into account the costs for repairing or rebuilding apartment blocks and other 'non-historic' buildings damaged in the quake.

Sra Sinde acknowledged that while the government's commitment to Lorca is without question, that there is much work to be done to restore the damaged items of historical significance. The Department for Culture is investing €2 million towards the restoration of the Torre del Espolón and the Lorca castle. The Minister spoke of the urgency in starting repairs on the castle, as it is a symbol for everyone who visits the area and helps to brings tourists and provides employment.

Local teacher, Josefina Rodriguez, who has lived in the Town for 31 years sees things differently: "Of course the Castle is important to the Town - but so are homes, schools and Hospitals."

"At a time when the country has attracted a lot of criticism for excessive construction on trains and airports it is a shame they don't seem to attached the same importance to re-building a town struck by such a disaster."

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