Three years on, Zolitūde victims remembered

Take note – story published 7 years ago

Commemoration ceremonies were taking place November 21 three years after Latvia's worst peacetime disaster.

On November 21 in 2013, 54 people lost their lives when the roof of a Maxima supermarket collapsed in the Zolitūde suburb of Riga. Scores were killed in the initial collapse, with rescuers joining the death toll during a subsequent cave-in.

At the site of the tragedy, relatives and friends of those killed, plus many of those injured on that terrible day, will gather to remember their loved ones and release balloons into the air.

Three years on, court cases aimed at establishing legal responsibility and winning compensation are still ongoing after starting in December 2015.

Charges have been brought against eight individuals involved in the design, construction and maintenance of the building that collapsed, plus five legal entities.

No convictions have yet been obtained.

And despite revisions to the building code, Economics Minister Arvils Aseradens told Latvian Radio Monday morning that up to one in five public buildings are in "pretty bad condition" and pose a potential hazard. Typically a pretty facade will cover a much lower quality structure, he suggested.

Inspectors recently detected a dangerous situation in another Riga supermarket and ordered it closed until remedial work could be completed, the minister said.  

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