The region of Liguria surrounding the northwest city of Genoa has been declared in a state of emergency by the Italian government, following the collapse of a major motorway bridge. The dramatic structural failure caused harm to dozens of victims, and claimed 39 lives.
A portion of about 100 meters of the “Morandi Bridge” collapsed a few minutes before noon on Tuesday. Between 30 and 35 cars and at least three ehavy trucks were passing through the bridge. The major viaduct in total spans 1,182 meters and connects the highway A10 and Genoa west to the eastern part of the city.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte shared details on the declaration, saying that the request was filed by regional authorities early on Wednesday.
“We have accepted the request, approving the state of emergency for the next 12 months,” said Prime Minister Conte in a press conference.
“We have allocated 5 million euros (5.67 million US dollars) to cover the costs of first operations, which will be drawn from the National Emergencies Fund,” he added.
Established in 1992, the Fund referred to by the Prime Minister is a national funding program created specifically to aid local and regional entities as they face possible crisis. The fund receives periodic financing from Italy’s central government.
A total of 634 people, or 311 households, were evacuated from areas around the bridge. The bridge’s structure is partially collapsed, so its integrity and the safety of those in proximity to it must be safeguarded.
While most evacuees relocated to houses of relatives a friends, a portion of the dislocated were assisted by the municipality to find accommodation, as reported by regional governor Giovanni Toti.
Search and rescue operations are ongoing at the site of the disaster. Nearly 400 firemen are involved in the effort, which is a race against time to find any possible survivors buried under the concrete rubble.