Storm tropical Elsa put more pressure on search and rescue operations for victims in the partially collapsed building in Miami-Dade and forced the authorities to decide on its complete demolition before Monday, while the number of deaths in the disaster rose to 24.
Two other bodies were pulled from the rubble since Thursday night, according to Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
The number of missing persons dropped to 121 with this finding and the location of people who were wrongly on the list, according to what was said at a press conference in the afternoon, in which the temporary stoppage of the search for victims was announced to prepare for the building for demolition.
Levine Cava said the interruption will last as little as possible.
It was not reported when the demolition of the remaining part of the 40-year-old building will begin, but it was warned that it must be done before the possible arrival of the tropical storm Elsa, which is expected to approach the Straits of Florida on Monday.
Apparently the storm will not have a direct impact on Miami-Dade, since the predicted trajectory indicates that Elsa will move along the west coast of Florida and not the east.
Authorities opted for demolition out of fear that the standing structure, which is unstable, could be toppled by the wind and cause further damage.
With a controlled fall, it is possible to “preserve the evidence” of the collapse, the work already done in the rubble and prevent the remains of the building from impacting neighboring buildings.
According to the mayor, the National Science Foundation is already taking care to save as much detail as possible of what remains of Champlain Towers South, using drones, 3D images and other technological tools.
For reasons not yet determined, the northeast wing of the 40-year-old beachfront building in Surfside (Miami-Dade) suddenly collapsed on June 24.
Fifty-five apartments, whose occupants slept, were reduced to a mountain of rubble in which hundreds of rescuers have been working for 10 days.
Until now, the search task had only been suspended on Thursday of this week, for about 15 hours, due to movements in the part that did not fall, but is unstable, so it was decided to demolish it.
CHAMPLAIN TOWERS SOUTH WILL DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said today, the demolition will take place tomorrow.
Alan Cominsky, chief of the Miami-Dade Fire Department, indicated that the areas where it is believed that there may be victims will be protected so that they are not affected by the fall of the remains of the building.
Elsa, who this Saturday approached the Dominican Republic and Haiti, then will affect Cuba, is an added concern to the many that surround the search and rescue operation for victims, to which the covid-19 was also added.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Elsa’s current trajectory indicates that it is more likely that, after leaving Cuba, she will head towards the west coast of the state, along the Gulf of Mexico, and not towards the east, where Miami Dade is.
If these forecasts are maintained, there would be no direct impact of the storm in the area of the collapsed building, which is a sleeve of land that intervenes between the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Biscay, on whose shores Miami is located.
According to what representatives of the emergency control agencies said this Saturday, Surfside is a mandatory evacuation area in the event of a cyclone and they called on its inhabitants, as well as those of the rest of Miami-Dade, to take the necessary precautions against the possible arrival of Elsa.
COVID-19 REACHES THE PLACE OF DISASTER
Among the concerns about the “human cost” of the search and rescue operation, as defined by Mayor Levine Cava, is the confirmation that at least six rescuers, from other areas of Florida, have tested positive for covid-19 .
In this regard, Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said Saturday that they and the entire task force to which they belong are no longer deployed.
In addition, tests are being carried out on all those who work in the operation, in which up to 500 people have sometimes participated.
Florida is far from reaching the goal of 70% of the population vaccinated on July 4, which was set by US President Joseph Biden at the beginning of his term. 64.7% of its adult population has received at least one dose, according to official figures that do not include children under 18 years of age.
According to the Johns Hopkins University count, Florida is the third US state with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases since March 2020 (more than 23 million) and the fourth with the most deaths (37,985).
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.