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Hundreds homeless after Morandi Bridge collapse

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Hundreds homeless after Morandi Bridge collapse
An elderly couple speak with rescuers in Genoa on August 15, 2018, as they wait to get into their homes to collect their belongings amid fears more debris could fall. Photo: Andrea Leoni/AFP
11:00 CEST+02:00
Hundreds of Genoese inhabitants have been evacuated from their homes and told they won't to be able to return after the collapse of the Morandi motorway bridge Tuesday caused major structural damage to the area.

More than 600 people spent last night in gyms and other makeshift emergency accommodation centres after being told their homes are too dangerous to stay in, up from 400 on the night of Tuesday 14.

As families return home from celebrating Italy's national Ferragosto holiday by the coast, the numbers of displaced are expected to rise.

The path of the collapsed viaduct goes directly over the roofs of a number of residential buildings in the Sampierdarena district, as well as several factories and a railway track.

A huge support column attached to some of the apartment buildings has sunk 12 centimetres towards the ground in a single day and could fall at any moment, emergency services have warned.

In the first 24 hours after the bridge's collapse, firefighters accompanied small groups of residents to retrieve belongings from their apartments.

But around noon yesterday they were told the inclined pylon presented too great a risk and they would no longer be able to return.

Firefighters have been returning alone in cases where people have an urgent need to retrieve medicine.

"I realised I would never go home again this morning," Cinzia Barabino, a resident of the district, told La Stampa.

"I was sitting on a bench, waiting to go back to get something so I could spend another night away, then they made the announcement."

Genoa's mayor, Marco Bucci, has said the flats will have to be demolished along with what remains of the bridge, but insisted that the displaced are his top priority.

Residents who can not stay with relatives and friends are now being temporarily housed in a community centre in nearby Via Buranello and are being placed in hotels in the local area.

READ ALSO: Genoa bridge collapse: in pictures

After the initial shock of the disaster, community members are starting to feel their anger.

"We are not earthquake victims - although we are living like them for now - they can't blame their disgrace on a natural disaster," said a man interviewed by Corriere della Sera yesterday.

"Yesterday we stayed silent out of respect for the dead, but going forward we want Autostrade [the motorway's concessionaire] to compensate us so we can get back our lives and find houses in an area far away from motorways and pollution."

Elderly resident 'Mrs. Pina' told La Stampa in tears that she had been a member of a committee that campaigned against the bridge's construction so close to the houses.

"I knew it, I knew it was going to end this way," she told the newspaper. "But we have always mattered little when it comes to politics."

READ ALSO: Genoa bridge collapse a disaster 'waiting to happen'

 

 
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