Sunday 26/05/2019 - 09:29 pm

Construction "on the cheap" may have cost lives in Italy earthquake

2016.08.29 05:55

 Contractors who reinforced buildings "on the cheap" may have run up the death toll in central Italys devastating earthquake and could face criminal charges, a local prosecutor said Sunday.


Also Sunday, Pope Francis pledged to visit "as soon as possible" the Italian towns that took the brunt of Wednesdays temblor.

Prosecutor Giuseppe Saieva said the quake that killed at least 290 people may have been more than an unavoidable natural disaster. A quake in the region seven years ago killed more than 300 people and alerted authorities to the need for earthquake-resistant construction. Saieva said property owners who contracted shoddy work could be held responsible for contributing to the damage.

"If the buildings had been constructed as they are in Japan, they wouldnt have collapsed," he told La Repubblica.

Franco Roberti, the head of Italy’s national anti-organized crime agency, told the Italian daily that steps must be taken to ensure that mobsters dont infiltrate reconstruction efforts. Claims of mob involvement in the 2009 reconstruction drew outrage across the nation.

“The risk of infiltration is always high," Roberti said. "Post-earthquake reconstruction is a tasty morsel for criminal organizations and business interests.”

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