Buildings collapse in Marseille -- city council accused of negligence

On Monday November 5, three buildings collapsed  in the Noailles' district in the city of Marseille. Eight bodies have so far been found in rubble and a hundred inhabitants have been evacuated for safety. 

Sara Saidi
Sara Saidi NewsMavens, France
Buildings collapse in Marseille -- city council accused of negligence - NewsMavens
Rescue workers watch aid efforts, YouTube

Why this story matters:

According to different sources, the condition of one of the buildings could be the cause of the tragedy. In fact, this building, 63 Aubagne street, as well as building number 67 were condemned in 2008 and in 2012, respectively, after the municipality issued a decree on their dangerous state.

As a result of this decree, only one of the three collapsed buildings, number 65, was officially occupied. However, a flat on the first floor of this building had also been declared structurally unsound on October 18. After experts were called in and structural works undertaken, tenants were allowed by authorities to return to the building.

A 2015 report submitted to the French government said unfit housing issues could impact up to 100,000 inhabitants of Marseille.

Nordine Abouakil, former spokesman of an involved association asserts  that "48% of Noailles’ buildings are in a deteriorated state." 

However, the municipality denies responsibility in this tragedy. Jean-Claude Gaudin, Marseille’s mayor, claims the municipality already invests "more than 200 million euros in the fight against substandard housing." 

On Aubagne street, building number 69 and the upper part of number 71 will be demolished for safety reasons. For now, the death toll from this tragedy has risen to eight and 180 houses have subsequently been reported unsafe or structurally unsound. 

Details from the story:

  • Monday November 5, three buildings collapsed in the Noailles' district in Marseille.
  • One of the three buildings was officially occupied, the two other have been condemned in 2008 and in 2012 respectively after the Municipality issued a decree pointing out their danger.
  • On October 18, a flat of the building number 65 was also declared structurally unsound However, the building has been strengthened and authorities have allowed tenants to return. 
  • According to a report submitted to French government in 2015, 100,000 inhabitants in Marseille live in some sort of unfit housing. 
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