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Supermarket horror in Latvia as death toll rises to 47


Latvia

Supermarket horror in Latvia as death toll rises to 47

At least 47 people are now known to have died in the collapse of a supermarket roof late on Thursday in the Latvian capital, Riga.

It is the worst disaster to hit the small Baltic nation in decades. An unknown number of people lie buried beneath the debris, and as rescuers have progressed through the wreckage with dogs, they have found very few signs of life. The supermarket was packed with end-of-day shoppers when it collapsed.

‘‘My wife is in there. There is no information about her, whether she is dead or alive. Wherever I call, there is no information,” said one anxious man.

Dozens more people are injured. The supermarket sits in the middle of a bleak Soviet-style housing estate and was built only two years ago, winning an architecture award. Now questions are being asked about its construction.

It seems likely many victims will be locals. What should have been a community asset and focal point became a death trap when workers began installing a children’s playground on the roof, which appears to have triggered the accident.

Reuters reported the death toll as 33 early on Friday, before lifting that figure to 47 by the afternoon.

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