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Healing The Wounds


The district of Serralta in Palma de Mallorca is still trying to come to terms with the tragedy and its consequences of twelve days ago, when a four storey building collapsed just like that killing seven people on impact. The remains of the building have now been completely cleared. Speculation is rife that the building was only approved for two storeys (ground floor plus first floor) and that deficiencies and a lack of reinforcements are to be blamed for the accident.

Since the accident, two buildings not far from the scene had to be evacuated with concerns for their occupants’ safety.

Even before the accident, a kind of technical inspection for buildings constructed before 1900 was already in place, at least in Palma as far as I can make out. On a stroll through Ciutat yesterday, I found this small sticker stuck to the door of a rather old looking place suggesting some kind of activity or other. But the building that collapsed was apparently built after 1950, so the ongoing technical inspections, if indeed there are any, would not have checked on the house that came tumbling down.

Palma’s politicians were quick to blame the owners and would rather have all proprietors take responsibility for the safety of their private dwellings or commercial buildings, for that matter. I rather think that there are no easy answers or quick solutions once a tragedy of this magnitude has happened. I am inclined to think that buildings from the time before 1900 are probably safer than those built later. What do you think?


The photos were taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 4th, 2009. The time was 15:23:55 and 13:22:51, respectively.

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November 2009


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