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Monday 21.08.2017 | Name days: Linda, Janīna
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One year passes since the tragedy in Zolitude

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUFriday, November 21st, marks one year since the tragedy in Zolitude. 54 people died under the collapsed roof of Maxima supermarket, including several rescuers.

Rescuers received the call for the emergency at around 18:00. Initial information was unclear: no one knew what exactly had happened – whether there had been an explosion or something had collapsed on its own. The roof structure of the supermarket collapsed twice. The second collapse occurred when rescuers were one the scene, looking for survivors.

The first news about killed victims came in shortly after the initial cave-in. After that the death toll kept increasing. Among victims of this tragedy were customers of the supermarket and its employees. Three rescuers of the State Fire and Rescue Service died in the tragedy as well.

Rescue attempts continued all night and throughout the following days until rescuers managed to find remains of everyone in the supermarket. A total of 54 lives were lost in this tragedy. Dozens of people received injuries of varying degrees of severity.

The collapsed Maxima supermarket was opened in 2011. It was also declared one Latvia’s most noteworthy works of architecture.

Valdis Dombrovskis resigned from his post as Prime Minister of Latvia shortly after the tragedy. Several officials working in the construction industry were also dismissed from their posts. A public committee was formed to investigate the tragedy, but it ceased to exist without even starting its work.

After the tragedy, authorities carried out a number of measures aimed at determining the cause of the tragedy. Preventive measures have been proposed in order to make sure such a tragedy never happens again.

Over the course of this year, the government made a number of decisions in order to reduce the consequences of this tragedy. This includes decisions in regard to the paying of compensation and allocation of additional funds to responsible services to reduce consequences of this catastrophe. Authorities provided support, information, social assistance and benefits for victims of the tragedy and relatives of those who died.

The tragedy in Zolitude cast light on the problems in Latvia’s construction industry and flaws in regulations. The new Construction Monitoring Office began its work this October. This office manages the monitoring of construction processes and building maintenance, organizes examinations and provides certifications to perform construction work.

In order to improve society’s level of information regarding proper action during emergency situations and catastrophes, it is planned to introduced a special training course regarding human safety in order to improve people’s understanding about different emergency situations and proper behaviour during different kinds of emergencies.

One year after the tragedy there are still no suspects in this case. Nevertheless, police promise to present a full report soon.

Ref: 102.109.109.3453


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