The American authorities still deplore 99 missing, Thursday, June 24, after the spectacular collapse, in the middle of the night, of a building of the residential complex Champlain Towers South, located in Surfside, near Miami, in Florida (United States). At least one person was killed in this disaster, the cause of which remains unknown for the time being. The emergency services are engaged in a race against time to search the rubble and locate the missing.
“Fifty-three people have been located, and we have no news of ninety-nine others”Miami-Dade County Police Chief Freddy Ramirez said, raising fears of a heavy toll. “Various causes have been invoked as to the origin of the incident; for the moment we are still at the preliminary stage of research. “We are bracing for bad news, given the destruction”, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis warned. For his part, the president, Joe Biden, said that the federal state stood ready to assist with emergency relief and rehousing operations for the survivors.
The twelve floors collapsed around 1:30 a.m. (7:30 a.m. KST), releasing a large cloud of dust over several blocks. “We transported at least two people to the hospital this morning, and one of them died”Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said on NBC.
Among the missing are many Latin American nationals, including nine Argentines, three Uruguayans and six Paraguayans. The Paraguayan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Euclides Acevedo, for his part confirmed that the sister of the first lady of Paraguay, Silvana Lopez Moreira, and her family were concerned by the disaster.
Fifty-five apartments affected
The collapse of an entire wing of the oceanfront resort affected around 55 apartments, said Ray Jadallah, deputy chief of Miami-Dade County Rescue Services, at a press conference, who added that 35 people had been evacuated from the building, including some from the collapsed part.
Surfside hosts a “Predominantly Jewish community”, said Daniella Levine Cava, another county administrator, according to whom several rabbis have been mobilized to provide support to all or some of the evacuated residents and their relatives. The city nestled north of Miami Beach has in fact nearly 2,500 Orthodox Jews for a population of 6,000, as reported in 2018 by the faith-based Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The causes of the collapse of this residential complex were still unknown late Thursday morning, told the Miami herald Mme Levine Cava. Work to bring the buildings up to standard was underway, especially with regard to the roof, as several officials said, who nevertheless doubted that this should be seen as a cause of the collapse.
Emergency services dispatched nearly 80 response units to the scene near the beach. The research could go on “At least a week”, said Andrew Hyatt, another responsible for the town of Surfside. Local media reported that the building was built in 1981, and that it included more than 130 apartments.