Published On: Fri, Jul 18th, 2014

INAH Issues Press Release regarding Building Collapse in Downtown Merida Last Week

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The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) does not put any historic building above the safety of citizens.  The restrictions established by the Federal Law on Monuments and Archaeological, Artistic and Historic Buildings are strictly intended to preserve Mexico’s national heritage in its original state. 
The property that collapsed in Mérida in recent days is located in an area of historic buildings under the joint responsibility of federal, state and municipal authorities.  INAH has authority only to repossess a property if the project does not meet the architectural, urban and historical context requirements. 
The Secretariat of Civil Protection is responsible for monitoring security measures in construction work and can carry out inspections to verify that the property is being used in accordance with previously registered and authorized approvals.
In this case, the “Centro INAH Yucatán” granted permission for renovation of the collapsed building in 2008. The most recent authorization was issued on 14 March 2014 for maintenance works.  INAH regrets any suggestion that it “threatens the security of citizens” or does not recognize that historic buildings might present a danger to the public.
INAH’s responsibility is to supervise the restoration, conservation and maintenance of historic buildings.  In particular, INAH seeks to preserve properties of historical value, and its primary function is to ensure that any renovations comply with the standard regulations, as well as the adequacy of space for commercial and residential purposes, in accordance with the protocol of Urban Development.  INAH also provides technical information and guidance to owners of historic buildings.  The Yucatan INAH Center has issued numerous recommendations for restoring old properties that are in a state of dilapidation.
El Centro INAH Yucatán has always been aware of the reports issued by Civil Protection.  If Civil Protection has information about properties in danger of collapse, it should share it with all the relevant authorities that oversee the historic center of Merida, to avoid any risk to the population, and to ensure the safety of all citizens.  Each institution should be coordinated within the framework of its competence.  In this case, the Civil Protection Authorities must ensure security upon knowledge of imminent danger of collapse.
Historic districts should always be preserved.  But when laws are established for the conservation and preservation of such districts, some owners prefer to abandon their properties rather than comply with the laws.
The historic center of Merida comprises 659 blocks which cover ancient land with a high net worth. It is considered the second largest in the country and was named World Patrimony in 1982.  Since that time, the Institute has worked to promote the conservation and recovery of this heritage and uses specialists to assist and direct intervention in renovating those buildings.  [Translated from INAH Press Release]
Collapsed Building

Collapsed Building

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