No Filipino casualty in collapse of highway bridge in Italy – DFA

A Filipina and her Italian husband residing at the foot of a collapsed bridge in Genoa, Italy were told by Italian authorities to vacate their house that rests at the base of the doomed structure.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported this as the department conveyed its sympathies to the families of the 35 fatalities who perished after the 51-year old Morandi highway bridge caved in amid driving rain at noontime last Tuesday.

“The Philippine Consulate General in Milan is still trying to ascertain whether there are Filipinos among those who were killed or injured in the tragedy,” the DFA said in a news statement.

The DFA added that Consul General Irene Susan Natividad had dispatched Welfare Officer Jocelyn Hapal and Assistance to Nationals Officer Sylvia de Guzman to Genoa, who reported about the evacuation order being given to the Filipina and her Italian husband.

So far, at least 35 people, including a child, died in the partial collapse of the ageing structure, which happened as the city was being lashed by an intense thunderstorm. The toll, however, was expected to rise, according to news reports.

“Firefighters with sniffer dogs were working through the night to try to find survivors beneath the rubble of a giant bridge that collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa,” the DFA said.

Officials said 15 people were injured and 10 of them were in critical condition. Four people were pulled alive from the rubble.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte called it “an immense tragedy … inconceivable in a modern system like ours, a modern country.”

The DFA said the team also visited two hospitals where the dead and injured were taken, but reported that no Filipino had been brought there.

Consul General Natividad said authorities are still investigating the cause of the collapse of the bridge, which was reported to be undergoing maintenance work at the time of the incident.

Genoa has declared two days of mourning following the collapse of the Morandi bridge on Tuesday.

Flags will fly at half-staff on municipal buildings on August 15 and 16.

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Recto L. Mercene, graduate BS Journalism, Lyceum of the Philippines. First prize winner, News Photojournalism, by Confederation of Asean Journalists, Bangkok, Thailand; second prize winner, Art and Photojournalism Award; San Miguel Corporation. Former Air Traffic Controller and private pilot. Colombo scholarship grantee: Hurn College of Air Traffic Control, Bournemouth, United Kingdom.

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