Death toll from Rio building collapse rises to 24

  23 April 2019    Read: 1282
Death toll from Rio building collapse rises to 24

The death toll from the collapse of two residential buildings in western Rio de Janeiro has increased to 24, local authorities said, Xinhua reports.

The last dead victim was 35-year-old Adilma Rodrigues, who was rescued alive from the debris on the first day of the rescue, but succumbed to grave injuries. Rodrigues' husband was also killed in the disaster, but fortunately her 10-year-old daughter survived.

Search efforts were concluded after the body of the last missing person was retrieved. Out of the 24 killed, nine were minors, aged from two to 15.

Both collapsed buildings in the Muzema favela were irregular constructions and are believed to have been built by militia groups which control the neighborhood.

Those militia groups control several aspects of the communities' daily lives, like the sale and distribution of the cooking gas, cable TV and internet services, and charge for protection and security.

They also control real estate expansion. In the past few years, Muzema favela has seen significant expansion with dozens of new residential buildings erected.

Most of them do not have a listed engineer or architect in charge, and prices for the apartment units are considerably lower than they should be, attracting poor people from the slums of Rio's South Zone, a beach area of the city, where rents are high even in shantytowns.

So far, the police have issued warrants for the arrest of three men who are believed to be responsible for construction of the collapsed buildings.

Following search and rescue, the Rio municipal authority plans to demolish 16 buildings, which were built without a license, on the outskirts of the collapse site.

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