Lisbon landslide leaves 27 homeless

After years in which they complained to the council, residents in Lisbon’s Rua Damasceno Monteiro experienced the horror they were afraid of. A massive wall at the back of their properties collapsed onto their apartment buildings, rendering the blocks uninhabitable.

The worst of this story is that people have been trying to find out who is responsible for the upkeep of the wall for years.

Lisbon council still today insists it is “privately owned”, but the condominium mooted as the real owner refutes responsibility entirely.

The fact that the council is now forging ahead with an intervention that it says will take three months suggests the council secretly knows where responsibility lies.

But that leaves 27 people – none of them apparently cushioned by wealth – homeless and without their possessions.

On Monday, shortly after the landslide into four blocks of flats, displaced residents were being supplied with blankets and bottles of water. They were later “led” to a makeshift centre at the local “Mercado do Forno do Tijolo” (brick oven market) where they were served food.

One person was “slightly injured” as a result of the wall collapse, and one car was “partially destroyed”, writes Correio da Manhã.

Resident Helena Santana described the horror, that began shortly after 5.30 on Monday morning and now sees her having to make new living arrangements until at least June.

“It was terrifying. I felt the whole building shake. I thought it was an earthquake or a bomb exploding. I looked out the window and saw the door of a garage on top of a car, and then I realised that it was the back wall collapsing, with all its earth invading the garages and homes on the ground floor”.

Throughout the morning, mini-landslides persisted, as residents were prohibited from returning to their buildings to collect personal belongings.

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