Colon crumbles while officials talk

Unlike the Old Quarter in Panama City, there is no real estate speculation in Colon to create interest in reconditioning and saving historic buildings.

“Until we have an agreement between the National Heritage Department, the governor and mayor of Colon, the Old Quarter will stay as it is, but for the moment nothing can be done,” said the Provincial Director of the Housing Ministry (MIVI), Osvaldo Chavarria.

Abandonaded architectonic jewels in Colon

Abandonaded architectonic jewels.

He added that at the moment no plans exist to give Colon’s Old Quarter a facelift, because they are still in conversations with the National Heritage Department, which will not allow the buildings to be demolished due to their historical value.

Housing is one of the issues that have not been properly addressed in the Colon province.

Victims of floods, fires and crumbling buildings are waiting in provisional shelters to be permanently housed.

The Ministry of Housing is planning to give 500 homes to families in different parts of the province, but it cannot build them fast enough to satisfy the need.

Colon city´s old downtown quarter continues to fall apart, and the majority of the people who live there do not pay rent.

Conditions are unsanitary due to the overflow of sewage and drinking water is scarce in many areas. People only abandon derelict buildings when they finally collapse.

Chavarría said that there is an enormous deficit of housing in Colon and that it will take time and money to solve it.

Chavarria also said that they cannot evict the inhabitants of those derelict buildings for the simple reason that the MIVI does not have enough provisional shelters for them.

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