Hundreds evacuated after Genoa bridge collapse in Italy

World Today

Rescuers work among the rubble and wreckage of the Morandi motorway bridge in Genoa on August 17, 2018, three days after a section collapsed. Rescue workers in Genoa have toiled for a third night in the wreckage of a collapsed bridge, continuing the desperate search for people still missing after the accident, which left at least 38 people dead. Italy’s populist government intensified its attacks on the viaduct operator amid rising anger over the tragedy and the structural problems that have dogged the decades-old Morandi bridge, which buckled without warning on August 14, sending about 35 cars and several trucks, along with huge chunks of concrete, plunging 45 metres (150 feet) onto railway tracks below. (AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO)

Italy held its first funerals for victims of its deadly bridge collapse. At least 38 died, and the death toll is expected to climb.

While hundreds remain evacuated from an area near the bridge’s remaining structure. CGTN’s Natalie Carney reported from Genoa.

It can’t be easy leaving all you know behind especially when the future is so uncertain. More than 600 people had been evacuated from 13 buildings around the Morandi Bridge following its collapse in Genoa on Tuesday.

With little notice, most people simply grabbed what they could and left. That left behind a scene of life frozen in time. Building after building evacuated with laundry still hanging off the balcony.

Officials feared that what remains of the Morandi Bridge could also come crashing down, so they set up radar technology to monitor any movement. Some of the evacuees were put up in hotels. Some stay with family and friends. Others went to a municipal sports center where psychologists and local staff tried to deal with their sudden change of fortune.

72-year-old Vanda Natalina had been living in the neighborhood since she was five years old. “They built this bridge when I was 16. At that time, it looked like a work of science fiction. There were so many inconveniences including lots of damage to our buildings, especially for the apartments near the pylons,” she explained.

Robert Rendon and his family, who lived right underneath the bridge, witnessed the horrific event. “My daughter started crying. She went outside and the bridge was gone. There was so much dust there was noise and then ambulances, helicopters,” he said.

On Friday, both the governor of Liguria, Giovanni Toti, and the mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci, visited evacuees. According to Bucci, more than $5.5 million has already been given to the city to help it rebuild. But he also said that he will ask for much more to ensure evacuees are taken care of. “Next Monday, we are going to have 45 apartments available. In two weeks we’ll have another 40 available…The plan right now, let’s say three month maximum, we will have everyone in a new apartment,” the mayor said.

The government said the entire bridge will be rebuilt as well as new transport links across the city. That was little consolation to those who simply want to return home.

Meanwhile, the families of 17 people who died in the tragedy have refused to take part in a public funeral planned for Saturday. They blame the government for not doing enough to avoid this disaster.