Rome: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday declared a 12-month state of emergency after a section of a motorway bridge recently collapsed in Genoa that claimed 39 lives. Conte further announced that he allocated five million euros for the smooth facilitation of search and rescue operations.
He added that his administration would withdraw the concession from Autostrade, the private company responsible for the maintenance of the Morandi Bridge that collapsed on Tuesday. Conte was quoted by CNN as saying, “These are tragedies that are unacceptable in modern society.” Although rescue operations were on till Wednesday evening, the hopes of finding more survivors in the mishap are now appearing to be dim.
Fire services chief Emanuele Gissi told CNN that the rescue workers were working with care and caution amid concerns of the stability of the Morandi Bridge.
Initially, the local authorities blamed heavy thunderstorms in the region for the mishap, but Conte clarified later that the investigators were working on the reason for the “structural failure” of the bridge. Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci said that the disaster was “not absolutely unexpected.” Meanwhile, Italian President Sergio Mattarella has called for a “serious and severe examination of the causes” of the bridge collapse.
On Tuesday, the head of the Italian Civil Protection Agency, Angelo Borrelli, confirmed that 13 people were injured in the incident, with the number of casualties expected to grow further. He added that around 30 vehicles and many heavy-duty trucks were present when the Morandi Bridge collapsed.
The police had said that maintenance work was underway to consolidate parts of the bridge. The motorway bridge, which opened in 1968, is a major highway for residents and tourists in the city of Genoa. The route links the Italian coast with French coastal cities to the west, along the Mediterranean region.