Over 150 people are still missing under the rubble
FROM THE ENROLLMENT TO NEW YORK. Structural damage to the collapsed building in Miami had been known for nearly three years, but only now had work begun to repair them. If this is confirmed as the cause of a tragedy that could have claimed the lives of over 150 people, the rules governing the construction and maintenance of buildings will need to be reviewed, not only in Florida.
Rescuers are still digging in the rubble of Champlain Towers South, but the chance of finding survivors has all but disappeared. A fire that broke out among the remains of the building is also complicating the search. Instead, the controversy over the causes of the collapse is growing, because in October 2018 the engineer Frank Morabito had inspected the building at 8777 Collins Avenue, discovering structural damage, cracks and corrosion in the columns and walls of the parking lot, and in the swimming pool. probably caused by the sea water. He did not foresee the catastrophe, but he warned: “While some of this damage is minor, most of the deterioration in the concrete needs to be repaired quickly.” Instead three years have passed, and only now the works were starting. According to the emails sent by Morabito and now published, a total of maintenance work for 9 million dollars was needed, but these have been postponed.
The Champlain Towers had been built in 1981 on swamps torn from the sea. Last year Shimon Wdowinski, a professor at the Department of Earth and Environment, documented how the building sank into the ground two millimeters a year in the 1990s. Multiplying 2 millimeters by 40 years could explain the reason for the collapse. The sea then may have rusted the steel and eroded the concrete, while the floods favored by climate change add risks for all of Miami. Mandatory inspection for every building after age 40 had just started, but the maintenance delay may have been fatal. Hence the $ 5 million lawsuit filed against the tenant association that ran it. The rules are always under fire in the US, because they cost and hold back the economy. The risk, however, is to pay high prices, when they are not there or are violated. Miami Dade County Mayor Daniella Cava has ordered all buildings older than 40 years to be inspected, but it’s too late for the Champlain Towers victims.