Mexico City: Fallen statues, collapsed archways and closed churches are some of the consequences of the powerful earthquake that hit the Mexican capital on September 19, a media report said.
The magnitude 7.1 quake and an earlier temblor on September 7 damaged over 18,000 buildings with historical and cultural value in 11 Mexican states, according to the National Anthropology and History Institute (INAH), Efe news reported.
Although no particularly significant damage was registered in the capital's historic centre compared to other areas, such as the slopes of Mt. Popocatepetl, where the earliest Franciscan monasteries were severely damaged.
The September 19 quake caused one of the three statues on the cathedral's main facade to fall - the one representing "Hope" - and although it broke into several pieces, the INAH and Culture Secretariat officials are working to "completely restore" it, said Arturo Balandrano, the INAH coordinator for historic monuments.
In general, however, the cathedral has no "severe" damage that "compromises (its) architectural stability", although the use of one atrium has been restricted due to the "possibility that a piece of stone could fall."
After the quake, the INAH personnel recommended to capital authorities that activities on Mexico's central square, the Zocalo, be reduced if they could potentially cause increased vibrations in the area that might harm the church, but on October 8 a huge benefit concert was held there, after which the spokesman for the Mexico Archdiocese, Hugo Valdemar, said that the event had caused more damage to the structure.
However, the event coordinator said that the concert did not affect the cathedral "in any way" and technicians are monitoring the building to ensure that vibration limits are respected.
According to the Culture Secretariat, restoring historical and cultural quake damage nationwide will take 30 months and cost about $521 million.