Mexico earthquake: Jojutla residents come to terms with destruction, lack of government help

Mexico earthquake: Jojutla residents come to terms with destruction, lack of government help

Mexico earthquake: Jojutla residents come to terms with destruction, lack of government help

Updated 22 September 2017, 20:25 AEST

There is a distinct lack of government help in Jojutla, compared to the massive emergency response in Mexico City, with residents dealing with the aftermath of the powerful earthquakes.

Walking down the main street of Jojutla, Naun Valladares casts his eyes across the piles of rubble that lay where buildings once stood.

"These streets are where we come to work, where we come to the market — it is just the busiest part of the city," he says.

"I mean, that was a house," he says pointing to a lifeless pile of cinderblocks.

"There is nothing there now."

He pauses.

"It is just difficult in reality to talk about this."

We stand on the spot where he was when the quake hit, across the road from a primary school.

"You could see the mothers tense, worried, screaming, really concerned that their children were OK."

He pauses again.

"It's just something … just indescribable," he says.

As he surveys the street a small, middle-aged woman comes running out of a barely standing house holding a blue dust mask over her face. She is talking frantically through tears.

Her name is Rosa Bahena. Her elderly mother watches from the doorway.

"There is nothing, what are we going to do?" she says as she points at what was once her home.

"We ask for the support of the people who can help us, or that the government help us, but they haven't given us anything."

Looking around there is a distinct lack of government help in Jojutla — especially compared to the massive emergency response going on in Mexico City.

There are some soldiers here shovelling rubble, and it was by army escort that Naun made his way back to his neighbourhood, but beyond that the only people on the streets trying to clean up are local civilians.

A man with a wheelbarrow full of sandwiches in paper bags stops. He hands one to Rosa who takes it as she weeps.

Naun walks on towards his house. At least 17 people died in this city when buildings tumbled.

As he navigates the car-less streets, it seems like every second building has been destroyed or badly damaged.

On one corner, a convenience store with an apartment above is tipping backwards. It looks like it could fall into the river behind at any moment.

Nearby a few young men sit on a couch. On the wall behind them are a number of random posters — one has a car, another a motorcycle, another is of Bruce Lee. It could be a scene from any typical teenagers bedroom; the only difference being that this room is missing two walls and has no roof.

As Naun gets closer to his house his shoulders start to sink.

He can see most of the cladding has fallen off the wall facing the street. He peers through a window in the front door. Inside it looks like a bomb has gone off — two walls have collapsed, swamping the lounge room with large grey bricks.

Poking out of the debris are two arm chairs, a DVD player and TV and what looks like a ladies' sun hat. He can't even open the front door because rubble is blocking it.

His shoulders seem to sink even further when he starts to think about what to say to his two year old son who is waiting for him back at the shelter.

"You feel it when he says 'let's go home'," he says.

"We try to play with him, distract him with things, but he obviously always wants to go home.

"How do you tell him you can't go right now?"

Naun crosses the road to check on his neighbour's dogs, before walking back towards the shelter, trying to figure out the next distraction.