SOLYMONE BLOG

LATVIAN PM RESIGNS OVER RIGA SUPERMARKET DISASTER

Last Thursday (November 21, 2013) , a supermarket roof in Riga, the capital city of Latvia had collapsed  killing 54 people and wounded at least 40 others.
As Latvian rescue workers searched for bodies in the rubble of a supermarket collapse that killed dozens, speculation about the cause focused on a garden and a playground being installed on the grass- and gravel-covered roof.
The death toll from the Thursday evening rush-hour roof collapse at the Maxima supermarket in Latvia's capital had risen to at least 51, including three firefighters, police said.
Police opened a criminal investigation into the cause of the tragedy at the award-winning building — once vaunted as a place where high-rise residents could step out of their homes, stroll along a shady garden and pick up a couple of items for dinner.
  • Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs told reporters that large bags of construction materials and soil were left on a weak spot on the roof and could have caused the collapse. It had rained for days, leading to speculation that the soil had become soaked and weighed down.
  • Deputy Mayor Andris Ameriks said that several reinforced steel beams fell over at once, which might indicate that engineers failed to properly calculate load pressure on the roof. He blamed budget cuts for a lack of construction controls.
  • An enormous crater-like hole gaped in the supermarket's roof, while building materials were still stacked on the remaining sections.
  • The store was filled with shoppers when an enormous section of the roof caved in. Two hours later, while rescue workers searched for survivors, a second and larger section of roof caved in, trapping and killing firefighters.
  • It was the largest tragedy for the Baltic state since it regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Latvia's government declared three days of mourning starting Saturday.
  • As a result of the supermarket disaster, Latvia's prime minister has resigned after accepting political responsibility for the collapse of a supermarket roof in the capital that killed 54 people and wounded at least 40 others.
  • Valdis Dombrovski was the longest serving prime minister in Latvia's history. His decision also means his centre right government automatically falls.
"Considering the ... tragedy and all the related circumstances, the country needs a government that has a majority support in parliament and can solve the situation that has arisen in the country," Dombrovskis told journalists after meeting President Andris Berzins.
President Andris Berzins has accepted his resignation and will begin searching for a candidate who will need to put together a new coalition, the president's office said.
Source: Agency
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