Florida Collapse: Some Buildings Here Maybe Ticking Time Bombs

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Two weeks after the collapse of an apartment complex in Florida’s Surfside, the search for possible survivors is halted. It is believed that no one can be pulled alive from the rubble. A total of 54 bodies have already been recovered, but 86 people are still believed to be missing.


Our American correspondent Björn Soenens looked in Miami at what can be done to avoid these kinds of tragedies.

Two weeks after the collapse of an apartment building in Miami Beach, Florida, 54 bodies have already been recovered. However, 86 people are still missing, although it is not confident whether they were all in the building at the time of the disaster. Many owners use their apartment as a second home and live elsewhere in the US or Latin America.

The chances of finding survivors are no longer real. So the emergency services are switching from a rescue operation to a recovery operation, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. There was a minute of silence and a short ceremony with firefighters, local officials, and some religious to symbolize that moment.

Our America correspondent Björn Soenens spoke to a real estate agent in Miami. She does not understand that the board of owners knew there was a problem with the building but did nothing about it. Building inspections are mandatory, and residents’ councils can force members to pay for repairs and modernization. Legally, they can even seize the flats of residents who refuse to pay or even have them evicted from their homes.

So the remedies are there, and Soenens notes that the Miami-Dade government is now carrying out accelerated emergency inspections of buildings. A number of these have already been evacuated as a precaution. In addition, emergency meetings of owners and residents are planned in many other buildings.

Apartments are being sold in abundance in Miami Beach and Surfside. More than ever since the start of the corona crisis, correspondent Soenens notes, despite risks such as subsiding ground, more hurricanes and dangers in the coastal areas. According to the real estate agent he interviewed, Miami is making much more effort than other places to increase safety by, among other things, raising streets and installing pumps.

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