Disasters & Accidents

11 dead, 3 missing after building collapse in northeast Brazil

Paulista, Brazil, Jul 8 (EFE).- Emergency workers trying to save people trapped under the rubble of a collapsed building in the northeastern Brazilian city of Paulista confirmed Saturday that at least 11 people died in the accident.

The death toll rose by nine overnight, according to the fire department serving Paulista, a city in Pernambuco state that is part of the Recife Metropolitan Area, adding that three others were still trapped or were missing.

In total, the fatalities include three adult women, four men and four minors, among them a five-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy.

One of the men, an 18-year-old, died on the way to the hospital.

Rescue work continued on Saturday with the support of trained dogs and teams removing debris from the 16-unit apartment block that collapsed and the one next to it, which was partially destroyed.

On Friday, three women were rescued alive and taken to a local hospital with fractures, while four other people, who were not among the 19 occupants of the building and lived in an adjoining property, had minor injuries.

The collapse occurred amid heavy rains over the past two weeks that had led to a state of alert being issued for the Recife metro region.

On Friday, those storms and downpours triggered landslides and flooding, felled trees and posts and caused several traffic accidents.

The building, part of the Beira-Mar low-income housing complex, had been closed by a 2010 court order that had warned the structure was unsafe.

But two years later, its owners began using the building as housing once again without authorization.

Firefighters in 2018 had recommended that the building be vacated after conducting an inspection.

On Thursday, a day before the tragedy, an insurer connected with the state bank that financed the apartments also warned that it was unsafe for human habitation.

In April, six people died when another residential building collapsed in the nearby city of Olinda, also part of the Recife metro area.

In that incident, a three-story structure for which an eviction order had also been issued collapsed in the low-income Jardim Atlantico neighborhood. EFE


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