Nearly 150 people had to be evacuated, during the night of Saturday to Sunday, September 10, from a building housing social housing in Martigues (Bouches-du-Rhône) due to the appearance of s, the city announced. “Following apparent s in building K of lessor 13 Habitat, endangering the solidity of the building with the risk of collapse, the residents of this building and building M – nearly 150 people – were evacuated last night”explained the city in a press release.
“We heard a then a big “boom””, a resident of the evacuated building who preferred to remain anonymous told Agence France-Presse (AFP). It was a resident who heard a in the night, with a appearing in a stairwell, who alerted the firefighters, according to 13 Habitat.
A municipal order of imminent danger prohibiting access ” until further notice “ to these two buildings was taken. A security perimeter has been installed prohibiting the movement of pedestrians and vehicles in the surrounding area. A support unit for the residents concerned has been set up.
“A problem that lasts”
All the evacuated people are being rehoused this Sunday evening in the surrounding area, a meeting is planned for Monday morning with them to find a more lasting rehousing solution, explained the town hall. The nearby nursery school will remain closed on Monday but a childcare solution is planned at the elementary school for parents in difficulty, she added.
The building, built in the 1970s, is located in a lively and popular area. On site, the situation was somewhat tense in the morning, with several residents accusing the social landlord 13 Habitat, the first public social landlord in Bouches-du-Rhône, of having “left abandoned” the city.
“This is a problem that has been going on for a very long time. My mother’s balcony collapsed two years ago but she had to stay in her home »another resident who preferred not to give her name complained to AFP.
Several people also told AFP that their request for rehousing, due to significant damage, had gone unheeded in recent years. Many balconies are currently reinforced with masonry props to hold the building together, noted an AFP correspondent.
According to a well-informed source in the city of Martigues, the municipality had warned 13 Habitat three years ago of the problems of deterioration of the buildings, asking that work be carried out as a result. The city had even released a million euros with the idea that the lessor would follow.
A finding contested by the lessor, who certainly concedes that “the heritage in this city was in poor condition” but considers “that there was no identified risk and that no procedure in progress indicated that the structure was weakened”Romain Luongo, director of communications for 13 Habitat, told AFP.
The social landlord manages 33,000 housing units in Bouches-du-Rhône, of which 22,000 must soon be renovated as part of a 4 billion euro plan. The works, which should begin at the end of 2024, will last until 2040.
The World with AFP