Monday, 11 November, 2019

Italy bridge collapse death toll climbs to 43 as country mourns

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Deanna Wagner | 20 August, 2018, 17:09

The head of the regional government, Giovanni Toti, said the first temporary homes would be delivered on Monday and that all those who had to leave their apartments close to the bridge would be accommodated in the next two months.

A view of the collapsed Morandi highway bridge, in Genoa, Italy, Aug. 17, 2018. "We all want to know what happened", he said.

He encouraged citizens to show solidarity so "we can build new bridges to walk together" and rise above the tragedy. "The pain is deep", Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco said.

An imam has blessed the coffins of two Muslim faithful at the end of a Catholic Mass for those killed in the Italian bridge tragedy.

Some families stayed away from the ceremony, opting for private funerals, with some expressing anger at the government.

The Government had declared Saturday a national day of mourning and declared a state of emergency for Genoa, one of Italy's largest ports.

A man and family of three were found dead overnight and a Romanian man injured in the collapse died in hospital, bringing the death toll to 43.

According to the Italian press agency ANSA, the family's vehicle was crushed by a concrete block from the bridge in Genoa. Relatives had said the family, from northern Italy, had been traveling to catch a ferry for the island of Elba while on vacation.

While all those listed as missing had now been accounted for, fire brigade official Stefano Zanut told Sky TG24, "Our work continues in order to have the full certainty that nobody has been left under the rubble". "I have travelled along that bridge many times too, also recently", Mattarella said, vowing to carry out a "rigorous investigation" into the accident.

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But Seoul has failed to persuade Pyongyang to accept its long-standing call for more frequent reunions with more participants. Some 57,000 South Koreans are waiting to be reunited with their families who might be living in the North.

At other funerals elsewhere in Italy on Friday, angry mourners accused authorities of negligence and incompetence for failing to keep the bridge safe.

Still, thousands of people attended the state funeral, and applause broke out as rescuers and Civil Defense Department members arrived to take part.

Morandi reaffirmed the soundness of the reinforced concrete bridge design he used but warned: "Sooner or later, maybe in a few years, it will be necessary to resort to a treatment consisting of the removal of all traces of rust on the exposure of the reinforcements, to fill in the patches".

Mourners also included the city's two football squads, Genoa and Sampdoria, who have postponed their weekend matches.

Names of the dead were placed on each coffin before the altar.

Rome has blamed the collapse on Autostrade per l'Italia, which manages nearly half of the country's motorway network including the stricken A10 road that included the bridge.

The Italian government, meanwhile, appeared divided on how to proceed in relation to Autostrade per l'Italia, the company that operated the section of highway that collapsed.

Autostrade per l'italia said routine reinforcement work had been ongoing involving the bridge's foundations.

'I would say that apologies and responsibilities are interconnected.