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tv   Inside Story 2018 Ep 229  Al Jazeera  August 17, 2018 8:32pm-9:01pm +03

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united arab emirates china has offered support to turkey amid its worsening currency crisis caused in part by a diplomatic dispute with the us beijing has also called for a dialogue between the nato allies to the american threat to introduce more sanctions on thursday the turkish lira has lost nearly forty percent of its value against the dollar this year causing deep concern about its broader economy on pakistan's parliament has endorsed imran khan as the next prime minister has to headache in soft party became the largest in the national assembly after an election last month that some in the opposition disputed those other headlines on al jazeera more news coming your way right after inside stories stay with us.
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as italy comes to terms with the bridge that collapsed killing thirty eight people the government is turning its attention to the aging infrastructure engineers are warning hundreds of bridges and tunnels could be dangerous so what can be done to ensure safety this is inside story. hello and welcome to the program i'm adopted hamid with dozens now dead and the hope of finding any more survivors diminishing by the day the general a bridge collapse has many across the world questioning how this could have happened and where did blame lies and choose there a huge section of the bridge simply crumbled to pieces falling some forty five
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meters to the ground around thirty cars and trucks were on that section of the bridge at the time since then rescuers have been scouring through the rubble and crawling between the blocks of concrete looking for survivors and while there are many theories as to what caused a fifty one year old bridge to collapse attention has turned to two factors its design and its safety maintenance but the disaster has also exposed worries across italy just how safe are the country's roads and bridges we'll bring in our guests in a moment but first that the butler has this report from general. well the prosecutor here in genoa says there are all still ten to twenty people missing and that is why emergency workers hundreds of them and fire fighters have been trying to sift through the rubble at the scene best still having to try and shift these huge concrete slabs which fell off the bridge collapsed on tuesday using heavy machinery then they are going in with their bare hands using sniff adult to try and see if
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there are any signs of life as the hours and days paul supports hopes are diminishing but they could still be somebody trapped in an. they could have survived this smoke emergency workers say and that is why they are continuing they work and say they will not give up until that is certain that there was nobody left that now the country will be united in mourning on saturday there will be a state funeral state ceremony here in genoa attended by families of the victims and also by the prime minister and various officials there several families of actually said that they will be holding a private funeral ceremonies for their loved ones this is of course a moment of great grief and sadness for them and what's been emerging over the past few days are really several engineers structural engineers who come out and say it the problem is they could be off to ten thousand bridges and tunnels across italy all risk because in the sixty's and seventy's there was a building boom there's a lot of corruption substandard concrete was being used so there are now questions
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over the safety of the infrastructure across the country not just bridges and tunnels i should say but also buildings municipal buildings like schools the government says it will be inspecting all those bridges and tunnels it will be a big job and whether or not i'll be enough to calm people's fear is here in italy remains to be seen. so let's bring in our guests from genoa italy professor of transport economics do you know residue of genoa from trial bridge into u.k. joining us on skype is even further. structural engineer and bridge designer and from milan journalist thank lady palmeri gentleman thank you for joining me. ian first let me start with you the marandi bridge when it was built back in the one nine hundred sixty s. was considered as some sort of a feat of engineering innovation in hindsight and i know it's a bit too early to speculate what caused the disaster what were they were there any
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problems in its design for long term use age. i think you could you hello yes indeed i think yes you're right it was considered time to be something innovative it was certainly unusual when it was built it had a sister structure also designed by what i. learned in venezuela but i think very soon after it was completed it already began to have difficulties and i think it had a rather short. period of enjoying the limelight if you like because treasury quickly people began to realise that it had some flaws. they were illegal most so you actually live in genoa. was the problems of that bridge actually a conversation people had. yeah i mean many people was a little be. they feared that something could
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happen sooner or later but you know today is very easy to say so what happened there has been a big debate in this city over the last twenty five thirty years about the opportunity of building another a motorway infrastructure more or less parallel to this one and there generally is community was a split between those who. stressed the point of the of their the overall growing demands of traffic both for a. port traffic and the for the c.p. for the city needs and the other part of the city was more or stressing the environmental their major of building and other infrastructure so my point is that in these. key. very critical link of their of their overall network it should be safer to have some degree of redundancy also you know order to
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do all the necessary maintenance or even stopping the traffic whether it is necessary well ten k. people maybe there are conversations that actually they had been several warnings that this ridge was not safe anymore there is i read also several reports that actually. it was the alarms was was sounded last year and then again this year and nothing happened how can you explain that. yeah we should say that as the professor was mentioning before even if it seems to raise it to say saw today it was unlike something that will saul spread the so no not everywhere but it is through a couple of you have to go the rules in parliament and independent senator that percent of the other poor thing on the dangers or over the bridge and that was
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a report of the pharma professor from the university of general that was the thing . based was the the the finance for the collapse of the collapsing of the bridge or i could see that maybe because sometimes in italy since there are so many problems and then nothing is happening it seemed that possibly to me could seem like ok maybe it's dangerous but it's not that serious and sometimes maybe need only we need to face the tragedy before the allies in the things that actually are. serious we will see as you said later about the politicisation a bug that there were actually even in the past the british government also the weather more king are calling it there's a little fairy tale in those voices that were calling about the. danger of collapsing of the bridge that was actually the five star movement of f.
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i'm not wrong the found out of the five star movement is resident in general as so he should know better and i am going to go to. rico again just continue what tancredo just said i mean yes this bridge collapse it's been deadly but if you look at the list of bridges that have collapsed over the past few years in italy or buildings one does have to ask the question is there a real problem somewhere else and not in the construction itself but how it comes together. i think there for the bridge that collapsed here in genoa we have probably a problem. of mistakes in the design as well as before but also the bond that these breeds was so critical and so subject to an excess of of traffic for and number of different functions because this bridge was
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a really crucial for all their ports related the closer to the port terminals and from the port terminals and you should keep in mind that more or less half of the terminals are east of the bridge and half of the terminals are west of the bridge which means there when a truck arrives and that he has to reach one of the terminals was not necessary on on the same side where he is coming from so he had to cross the bridge or even when a truck is going to several terminals needs to cross the bridge for going from but there is a which are place that to the west and the to the east part of the of the bridge itself so for these first the first reason and trucks are so much earlier than they used to be in the past and the second reason these their their their their their boost of their development of the city. made that the number of people
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moving inside to see the end of commuters moving towards the city over the decades has been always increase and as a result the number of acres that used there. over the last year or so was several thousand. several tens of thousand at the summer fifty or sixty thousand a day and this is clearly a volume of traffic which cannot be borne out by their infrastructure was originally designed yes he any i think you want to add something. well it is always a challenge for bridge operators and this is the same everywhere but i mean jennifer has a particular challenge because of the the nature of the topography and the urban environment but any bridge like this which is very busy with a lot of traffic on it means that if you have to do some invasive maintenance and clearly this bridge needed some of that you know you're either going to close the
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bridge or you're going to have some very serious traffic destruction when you close lanes you close it overnight you you know i don't i know done this so many times where you need to balance the challenge of keeping the traffic flowing which is essential for the economy and everything else with the need to close the bridge in order to do the repairs and the maintenance that need to be carried out and this is the problem one of the problems with the design these days when we design modern bridges we've learnt that lesson because of the increase of traffic over the decades we know that if we design a modern bridge we design enough redundancy in it we design enough additional space we make sure that you can get access to the things you need to maintain and so on so as to make it easier to both run the traffic and maintain the bridge i suspect this one was very difficult to do both ok well let's just take a closer look at the randy bridge it was designed by architect leak out of the water and the and was known as italy's brooklyn bridge at over one thousand one
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hundred meters long construction begins in one nine hundred sixty three but it wasn't officially open until four years later it had major reinforcement work done in the late one nine hundred ninety s. it carried almost twenty five million vehicles a year and was part of a vital highway connecting northwest italy to france the company that oversaw its me since had launched at twenty two million dollar tender for safety repairs just this may and works were due to start in september now i'm going in for as. civil engineer in italy is saying that the bridge has its lifespan what does it mean exactly. only i mean obviously evidently it's something is collapsed but but but the life span of a bridge is to you know we design a bridge for one hundred years hundred twenty years sometimes two hundred years so it's in but that doesn't mean that the bridge is going to fall down you know the next year it means that we design it for
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a certain set of situations that certain kinds of loads that might be predicted to occur within that period of time. but i mean this bridge has should have had many many more decades of good life in it if it had been properly maintained now we know that it has had maintenance work you just said it had major intervention a few years ago we also know that they were due to do the next phase of that coming up which starting in september and this is exactly the point i was making earlier on you know if they had the luxury of closing the bridge and doing all the maintenance work in one go they if they had the budget to do so of course then they could have done so and all that work would have been done but my hunch is that three or four years ago when they did the work at the east end of the bridge and you can see that very clearly with the work that was done there those cables were reinforced and they were about to do the next ones if they'd done them all at the same time this wouldn't have happened but as it was they did the first one you know
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they're you know there are three towers they did the first one perhaps they were coming to do the second and the third now starting in september sadly they were too late ok. the government is out say yes we will look at other bridges tunnels cause public buildings etc and other other countries in europe have said exactly the same thing but. why is it in italy it's something that happens more often than in other european countries i mean there were i think about twelve bridges that collapsed just over the past few years or something like that why in italy. well there is probably a problem of proper maintenance which is not being done over they tell you infrastructure but the case that's happening here in general is to some extent parodic method of what might happen elsewhere in eataly i mean that sometimes they
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delay their postponing the decision concerning the overall infrastructure design and the over plan for developing new infrastructures means that you have to use the old one until they break ok if you have only one pair of shoes then sooner or later you're going to break it's if you have a second pair when you go that you need to be repaired you use a second pair and you get this the first being repaired and this is precisely what i think didn't happen for the bridge of general and probably somewhere else. need to leave my same i mean these decisions are. implied that you decided to close the bridge of general before it collapses or without having any alternative for all the traffic flows this is a decision which is very difficult to to to assume or to take a much more difficult that than if you have another parallel motorway that is
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capable of assuming that traffic for a while so their radical maintenance that which has been down in the in the ninety's for the first pillar as it has been reminded the few minutes ago was not yet down for the second and the sands of beers are actually collapse of the two days ago we don't know if these kind of radical maintenance who have been sufficient for avoiding the collapse of course the fact that this was planned for this but it is too late now it's probably one of the reason why we we are not we are now. crying about such a big tragedy. that clearly not in many. the but seven bodies are still unaccounted for rescuers are saying that they don't know if there is anyone under the rubble but the political raul has a ready started whether within italy or with brussels
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so. the deputy prime minister. met there salvini said that or pointed the finger at europe saying that it's the austerity measures that were. imposed by europe that caused this is that the fair statement to be honest it has to be clear the. older model way system managed by but i read kompany that there the license from the state the wire it company called belonging to the. founder which is formed by the. many females of benetton family the of the benetton but i'm there and so it is not exactly going in that way is not at all we're going in that way that is not
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a static shuns about. about about that about the. investing of money for a month then and for the developing there is no connection at all. why these very important the segment of the services for the citizens are that could be your and or that managed by private companies well that obviously it is up to the european you know laws of. decades a bit more now they can go twenty years ago are less about. a failing of their competition in order to give a better services to the citizens and so also some set of bases or could be managed by private companies again in order to give a better service is better buys is better fairer to the citizens that is what has happened with motorways and and also other segments as it happened in in other
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counties a mother obviously when it is about. so these kind of services is not like the state and the government can do step back and say it's not our business anymore he said the thing about the private companies that are some got aunty's that should be got to some standards that should be gotten through that to the citizens about safety about the investment of the month. of course and for what has been that he studied the canale geo what happened around the. region but is not only about the money on the bridge it's also about that you were mentioning. mine of that of colossal anyway the way it is going at them and tenants are the state of motorways immediately in spite of having one of the highest fares to everybody that comes diving in italy knows of all days of spotting
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the difference compared to generally to spain in spite of that still the service is not at that level and in this case is the month in and for example learn as being. has been just the piled up or after the and as the professor was mentioning and here and also that the possibly take the looks of a closing a certain point the bridge even if it is a difficult obviously decision for the city of genoa for doing what has to be done and that in time happens and that crazy mad man doesn't interrupt one minute in coming for a certain time but may i just interrupt because in italy when things like that happen this all reserve very much of a public outcry and many people point to corruption to the involvement of the mafia that being they say that because of that they get south
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standard materials to build a school a building a bridge or anything like that i can see and first doesn't agree with that but. thank you it is that that issue in italy. well obviously it is a now nothing eighty's or in this case because that investigation a story but in that battle we know anything is known that the the state highway agency for a long time for that has been the one of the. big where owsa where where store the just their relatives out of relatives of politicians and everything just employed over there so it has been a huge nest of a corruption but also when you see that the there are other such profits such incomings and there is not at the same time i'm talking
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a situation now where these same a balance proportional level of investment for them and then is now the things it is obvious that something is not going in that i twenty yeah and i think you have something to say. well i mean there are various things that come to mind here yes there's always been rumors of you know your involvement in construction and we should be we can i mean i don't know for sure but i imagine it happens but if there were substandard materials in the original construction then why did it wait fifty years to fall down i you know i'm sure the may have been in some projects in some of that kind of intervention whether on kind of concrete or whatever it is gets into the structure but if that was the case then it would have fallen down pretty well straightaway and this the other thing though is that the point about the maintenance money going into maintenance clearly this isn't a this is a concern because i have heard it said that you know the company out to start in this case has been making money from tolls but the ratio between the money they
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make from tolls and the money they spend on maintenance is too high and it was a should be paying spending more maintenance i don't know is what i've heard there's a lot of hearsay all of this conversation is full of a lot of speculation and conjecture but you know we know that these are they really real pressures that exist not just in italy but everywhere. for authorities that operate complicated structures that need expert engineers to advise on what needs to be done they get a report saying you know they need to spend you know seventy million euros on a on maintenance and inspections and whatever else they need to do they've got a limited budget how do they prioritize that and that's the difference between you know the difference is they know what they need is somebody who can actually say well this is the critical thing that must be done this is desirable that can wait you know. limited budgets limited program and what i said before about disrupting
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traffic you know if you have to stop the traffic on one of these major crossings and the states the same on any major crossing it's a huge no no you just can't do that because the economic impact is so enormous right now in general and recall you can probably tell us what it's like because it must be complete chaos now with that road no longer available you know that traffic all having to go somewhere else because what that does provide now is a wonderful opportunity to build a new bridge there very quickly well unfortunately we have reached the end of this program even though the transport minister has said that maybe the highways in italy should come under state control again but that's a discussion for another time i want to thank our guests in firth and frankly palmeri and thank you too for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j.
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