Mexico quake leaves thousands stranded without a home

SAN JUAN PILCAYA, Mexico, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Rubble is all that remains of hundreds of houses rent asunder by the earthquake that struck Mexico in September, leaving owners lodging with relatives or friends, hoping their homes can be rebuilt or they can find new ones.

At least 369 people died in the 7.1 magnitude quake that hit central Mexico, causing more devastation in the capital than any since the 1985 disaster that killed thousands.

Damage to housing was particularly striking in central areas of the country close to the epicenter of the quake southeast of Mexico City in the states of Puebla and Morelos.

20 PHOTOS
Mexican citizens left homeless after massive quake
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Mexican citizens left homeless after massive quake
Tomasa Mozo, 69, a housewife, looks up at the roof as she poses for a portrait inside the ruins of her house after an earthquake in San Jose Platanar, at the epicentre zone, Mexico, September 28, 2017. The house was badly damaged but with the help of her family Mozo rescued some furniture. She lives in another room of her house and hopes to repair the damage as soon as possible. "I'm afraid to go out, I can not sleep," Mozo said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido 
Ana Maria Hernandez, 37, a clothing salesperson, poses for a portrait outside her house as it is demolished after an earthquake in Jojutla de Juarez, Mexico, September 30, 2017. Her house was badly damaged. Hernandez is living with relatives and hopes to return home once it is rebuilt. "I lost everything. My aunt died here," she said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Rene Contreras, 20, a student, poses for a portrait on the rubble of his house after an earthquake in Jojutla de Juarez, Mexico, September 29, 2017. The house was badly damaged. "Now I live with my brother. Tomorrow a good-hearted person will build for me an emergency house. I will fight to get ahead," Contreras said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Maria Isabel Alvarado, 75, a housewife, poses for a portrait on a street outside her house after an earthquake in Jojutla de Juarez, Mexico, September 29, 2017. Her house suffered minor damage. "I wanted nothing to happen to my family and my colonial dining room," Alvarado said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido 
Teresa Luna, 49, a seamstress, poses for a portrait with her dog Dokie, next to part of her house which was badly damaged after an earthquake in Chietla, Mexico, September 28, 2017. With the help of her family Luna was able to rescue some furniture. "The most valuable thing that I recovered was my dog," Luna said. She is living in her backyard and hopes to return when the damage is repaired. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Catalina Martinez, 78, a housewife, poses for a portrait in the doorway of her house after an earthquake in San Jose Platanar, at the epicentre zone, Mexico, September 28, 2017. The house was badly damaged, but with the help of her family Martinez was able to rescue some furniture. She is living in her backyard and hopes that her home can be rebuilt. "I hope the authorities do not deceive us with promises. I do not know what's going to happen to us," Martinez said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Elena Zapata, 69, a housewife, poses for a portrait with her granddaughter Mariana, 3, inside the ruins of her house after an earthquake in Tepalcingo, Mexico, September 29, 2017. The house was badly damaged but with the help of her family and soldiers Zapata rescued some furniture. She lives in her backyard and hopes to return when the damage is repaired. "The most valuable that I have is the life of my granddaughter. We hope the authorities come to visit us. I feel anguish, I hear noises, I just want to cry," Zapata said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido 
Ventura Sanchez, 63, housewife, poses for a portrait on the rubble of her house after an earthquake in La Nopalera, Mexico, September 27, 2017. The house was badly damaged but with the help of her family Ventura rescued some furniture. She is living in her backyard and hopes for her house to be rebuilt. "I hope the authorities do not deceive us with promises. I am very sad," she said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Miguel Najera, 50, a farm worker, poses for a portrait on the rubble of his house after an earthquake in San Jose Platanar, at the epicentre zone, Mexico, September 28, 2017. The house was very badly damaged, but with the help of his family Najera was able to rescue some furniture. He is living in another room of his house and hopes to repair the damage as soon as possible. "I hope that together with my family we will get ahead, I have brothers in the U.S. and I hope they can help me," Najera said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Cenobia Riquelme, 76, a housewife who suffers from Alzheimer's, poses for a portrait next to her house after an earthquake in Jojutla de Juarez, Mexico, September 29, 2017. Riquelme's house was very badly damaged and her husband was killed. She and her husband were crushed by the rubble. Her husband could not be rescued, but Cenobia was rescued by a soldier. She is living in the backyard and could return to home once it's rebuilt. Her son Sebastian (not pictured) said: "My mother searches for my father to make his lunch. This is all very sad and I am worried." REUTERS/Edgard Garrido 
Luis Medina, 36, a farm worker, Maria Teresa Espinoza, 35, housewife, and Maria de Jesus Medina, 9, pose for a portrait inside their house which was badly damaged after an earthquake in San Jose Platanar, at the epicentre zone, Mexico, September 28, 2017. They were able to rescue some furniture and are waiting for their home to be demolished. They are living in their backyard and hope for it to be rebuilt. "The most valuable thing that I recovered was the picture of the Virgin," Espinoza said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido 
Veronica Dircio, 34, a housewife, poses for a portrait with her sons in front of a tent in a neighbour's backyard after an earthquake in San Juan Pilcaya, at the epicentre zone, Mexico, September 28, 2017. Dircio's house was badly damaged. "We stayed on the street. We expect the demolition of our house and the help of the authorities," she said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Prudencio Gutierrez, 66, a farm worker, poses for a portrait in front of his house after an earthquake in San Francisco Xochiteopan, Mexico, September 27, 2017. Gutierrez's house was badly damaged, but he was able to rescue his bed and some clothing. "The most valuable thing that I recovered was my hat," he said. "The authorities said they were going to help us build a house, but I do not know if it's true." REUTERS/Edgard Garrido 
Hector Guzman, 48, peasant and representative of the Municipal President in San Jose Platanar, holds the model of a new house for his father as he poses for a portrait after an earthquake in San Jose Platanar, at the epicentre zone, Mexico, September 28, 2017. Guzman is building his father a temporary house with bamboo reeds after it was badly damaged. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido 
Luis Garcia, 79, a bricklayer, poses for a portrait outside a house that he built, after an earthquake in Jojutla de Juarez, Mexico, September 30, 2017. The sign reads, "HA" which means habitable. "No house that I built was damaged by the earthquake," Garcia said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Jaime Delgado, 21, an agricultural worker, poses for a portrait on rubble in an area where he helped rescue people, after an earthquake in Jojutla de Juarez, Mexico, September 30, 2017. His house was not damaged. "A lady died here, crushed by the rubble. All this is over, now I searches pieces of iron to sell. My economic situation is bad", Delgado said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Maria Trinidad Gonzalez, 41, a housewife, holds some cookware as she poses for a portrait on the rubble of her house after an earthquake in Tepalcingo, Mexico, September 29, 2017. The house was badly damaged, but with the help of her family and soldiers Gonzalez rescued some furniture. She lives in her backyard and hopes to return home once it's rebuilt. "The most valuable thing that I recovered was my cookware," Gonzalez said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Maria Guzman, 70, a housewife, poses for a portrait on the rubble of her house after an earthquake in San Jose Platanar, at the epicentre zone, Mexico, September 28, 2017. The house was badly damaged, but with the help of her family Guzman rescued some furniture. She lives in a shelter and hopes her home will be rebuilt. "The most valuable thing that I recovered was the photo of my wedding day," Guzman said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Juan Sanchez, 53, a parishioner and a church guard, poses for a portrait in front San Juan Bautista church after an earthquake in San Juan Pilcaya, at the epicentre zone, Mexico, September 28, 2017. His house wasn't damaged so he has offered shelter to some families in his backyard. "We are holding mass under a tent. It is a great sadness, we are waiting for the government's help to rebuild our church," Sanchez said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido 
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Some houses were simply flattened by the shuddering tectonic shift which the government and the private sector estimated caused billions of dollars of damage.

"I lost everything. My aunt died here," said Ana Maria Hernandez, 37, a clothing salesperson, as diggers cleared away the wreckage of her home in Jojutla de Juarez, Morelos.

Now living with relatives, she and many others hope their destroyed homes will eventually be rebuilt.

But uncertainty clouds the future for some.

Veronica Dircio, a 34-year-old housewife said "nothing was left" of the house she and her children called home before the earthquake hammered the town of San Juan Pilcaya in Puebla.

"We're worried because they came and did a census of the homes; and whether it's a big house or a small house, they haven't told us if we're at least going to be able to get back a bit of what was once our house," Dircio said.

Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed in the quake, which followed another major tremor in the southwest of Mexico two weeks earlier that displaced thousands of people.

26 PHOTOS
Devastating aftermath of deadly Mexico earthquake
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Devastating aftermath of deadly Mexico earthquake
A woman reacts outside a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
People remove debris outside a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
TOPSHOT - Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after a powerful quake in Mexico City on September 19, 2017. A devastating quake in Mexico on Tuesday killed more than 100 people, according to official tallies, with a preliminary 30 deaths recorded in the capital where rescue efforts were still going on. / AFP PHOTO / RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Debris are pictured at the site of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
People carry debris outside a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Rescue workers remove a dead body after searching through rubble in a floodlit search for students at Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City, Mexico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
A volunteer searches for survivors in Mexico City on September 20, 2017 after a strong quake hit central Mexico on the eve. A powerful 7.1 earthquake shook Mexico City on Tuesday, causing panic among the megalopolis' 20 million inhabitants on the 32nd anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Onlookers stand across from a collapsed building after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. Picture taken September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Ginnette Riquelme
People react after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH A injured woman reacts after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
A rescue dog searches for people among the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Claudia Daut
A man reacts near a damaged building after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
A woman reacts after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
People rescue a man after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
An injured woman is being helped after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
People are seen next to a damaged car after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Claudia Daut
Damages are seen after an earthquake hit in Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers search for survivors in Mexico City on September 20, 2017 after a strong quake hit central Mexico on the eve. A powerful 7.1 earthquake shook Mexico City on Tuesday, causing panic among the megalopolis' 20 million inhabitants on the 32nd anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Soldiers rest as the search for survivors continues in Mexico City on September 20, 2017 after a strong quake hit central Mexico on the eve. A powerful 7.1 earthquake shook Mexico City on Tuesday, causing panic among the megalopolis' 20 million inhabitants on the 32nd anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake. / AFP PHOTO / Pedro PARDO (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Supplies are gathered as the search for survivors countinues in Mexico City on September 20, 2017 after a strong quake hit central Mexico on the eve. A powerful 7.1 earthquake shook Mexico City on Tuesday, causing panic among the megalopolis' 20 million inhabitants on the 32nd anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake. / AFP PHOTO / Pedro PARDO (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
People react after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Claudia Daut
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - SEPTEMBER 19: A man watches a building knocked down by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that jolted central Mexico damaging buildings, knocking out power and causing alarm throughout the capital on September 19, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. The earthquake comes 32 years after a magnitude-8.0 earthquake hit on September 19, 1985. (Photo by Christian Palma/Getty Images)
A woman prepares coffee in a square after a powerful quake hit Mexico City, late on September 19, 2017. The death toll from a powerful earthquake that rocked Mexico on September 19 has surged to 248 people, the head of the national disaster response agency, Luis Felipe Puente, said on Twitter. / AFP PHOTO / RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - SEPTEMBER 19: People watch a building knocked down in Viaducto avenue by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that jolted central Mexico damaging buildings, knocking out power and causing alarm throughout the capital on September 19, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. The earthquake comes 32 years after a magnitude-8.0 earthquake hit on September 19, 1985. (Photo by Christian Palma/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - SEPTEMBER 19: A man cries after the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that jolted central Mexico damaging buildings, knocking out power and causing alarm throughout the capital on September 19, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. The earthquake comes 32 years after a magnitude-8.0 earthquake hit on September 19, 1985. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
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Maria Trinidad Gonzalez, 41, managed to salvage some cooking utensils and furniture from the ruins of her home in the small town of Tepalcingo in Morelos. Mounds of fallen bricks and churned up debris covered the floor of her roofless house.

With its walls pulled down and the contents strewn outdoors, the house of 70-year-old housewife Maria Guzman in San Jose Platanar in Puebla state was left completely uninhabitable by the quake, forcing her into a shelter.

"The most valuable thing that I recovered was the photo of my wedding day," Guzman said outside the shattered building.

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