Fears as ‘quakeproof’ hospital collapses

L’AQUILA’s public hospital was hailed as a state-of-the-art, earthquake-proof building when it opened in 2000.

But it collapsed along with many centuries-old monuments in the earthquake that struck the city on Monday.

The San Salvatore hospital, evacuated after its walls gave way, forcing doctors to treat quake victims and ordinary patients in a courtyard, has exposed inadequate infrastructure in the area.

As the death toll from Italy’s worst earthquake since 1980 topped 200, shocked Italians asked how modern buildings — not just historic churches and stone houses — could crumble into pieces in a region known for its high seismic risk.

Franco Barberi, who heads a committee assessing earthquake risks at Italy’s Civil Protection Agency, said: “Once again we are faced with the lack of control on the quality of construction.

“In California, an earthquake like this one would not have killed a single person.”

In a country littered with illegal buildings and construction eyesores, experts blamed the use of low-quality cement and inadequate supporting iron rods, saying tens of thousands of buildings were at risk.


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