|The stairs leading to the second floor where over 20 families live.|
(LIP-ir) — Due to its old colonial mansions and astounding architecture, Downtown Lima Peru is considered one of the country’s National Patrimonies. Unfortunately one of these colonial mansions has become a death trap for almost 100 families.
It is common to see these large estates divided into smaller rooms or apartments with dozens of families living in them. Many of the the old mansions in Lima are inhabited and are the homes of many people.
The walls and the front entrance of a mansion located on Tayacaja Avenue in Downtown Lima were severely affected by the earthquake which shook the nation and devastated the Region of Ica on August 15. Despite the cracks and rubble, the 70 families living within its walls, having nowhere else to go, continued living in the old estate.
Early Thursday morning, firefighters, police and civil defense rushed to the old mansion on Tayacaja Avenue when it was reported that one of its walls had fallen. According to police reports no one was injured. Commander Guillermo Mavila reported that there were families which refused to evacuate their homes despite the fact that the entrance and another wall had collapsed.
|The exterior of the old colonial house on Tayacaja Avenue.|
The remaining families had to be rescued today when they realized that the only exit and entrance to their second floor homes had been completely covered by debris. Firefighters helped family members to the first floor using emergency ladders.
The residents of this old mansion have stated that Peru’s National Institute for Culture (INC) did not permit them to make adjustments or improvements on the old mansion, stating it was a cultural patrimony. According to Peru’s El Comercio newspaper, the area was declared uninhabitable 3 years ago.
In a press release, Peru’s INC has denied all accusations, stating that the families living in the estate on Tayacaja Avenue were formally notified by the INC through Peru’s Civil Defense that the mansion was uninhabitable on May 22, 2006. Peru’s INC also stated that it warned Civil Defense authorities that the estate was a risk in 2006.