By Dorah Feliciano, Contributing Reporter
BRASILIA, BRAZIL – Two buildings at Favela da Muzema, in the western part of Rio de Janeiro, crumbled to the ground this morning leaving at least two dead and six wounded, according to firefighters.
Rescue workers are still trying to determine how many people were inside the buildings when they collapsed.
Rio de Janeiro city government released a statement saying that the two buildings in question were non-authorized construction units and had been embargoed since November 2018.
“These buildings were in an irregular subdivision. The City Hall had already informed the public prosecutor and tried to embargo them, but unfortunately, a judicial injunction prevented the demolition of these buildings and the construction continued,” said Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Marcelo Crivella at the scene of the accident.
“We are here with our team working to try to rescue people out of the rubble. It is a lesson for all of us: When City Hall warns about these risks, we listen so that this does not happen again,” said Crivella.
According to neighbors interviewed by a local TV station, there are still fifteen people unaccounted for. They said that the two buildings had been opened for residents just a few months ago.
The favela where the buildings were located is said to be run by the militia, who support the construction and sale of unauthorized buildings, often in unsafe locations.
The community was also severely affected by the heavy rains which hit Rio on Monday. The roads still contain mud and rubble.
The area was cordoned off by police and a neighboring building was evacuated by the Civil Defense.