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The long weekend celebrating 42 years of independence could have ended in a tragedy when the upper slab of the porch of a three-story building in Maputo gave way, terrifying people in the vicinity, with residents saying they experienced moments of sheer panic.
The building is located on the corner of Filipe Samuel Magaia Avenue and Rua da Electricidade, near the Petromoc fueling station. The ground floor houses a Zeinab Textiles store. The property, with six apartments and an extra dwelling on the terrace, gained instant notoriety from the incident.
Our team visited the infrastructure, where it confirmed that a huge piece of concrete had fallen away. Worse: the building has detached itself slightly from its neighbour, and the porch showing signs of water seepage.
From the same angle it is possible to see pieces of fabric hanging from the blackwater discharge pipe, and notice that parts of the wall of one of the third-floor balconies that become detached from the building.
Throughout the building’s stairwells, there are electrical boxes without covers and cabling insulation done in such a way that speaks of short circuits in the offing.
Inside one of the third floor flats on the left side, where the has building detached itself from the neighbouring block, the wall marks which reveal the penetration of water.
The vendors on the ground floor report moments of panic over the long weekend. Sofia Alfredo, a street vendor and resident of the building, said she was so alarmed after the incident that she shut up shop selling soft drinks and other items at the entrance to the building for a week.
Another resident of ten years, Lúcia de Fátima, said that maintenance was done in a piecemeal way. “Each resident maintains the part that concerns him, that is, his or her own apartment, with only a small contribution to maintain the communal spaces,” she says.
Describing the “day of horror,” when the slab of the third-floor porch gave way and was left hanging by a few reinforcing bars before it was removed by a crane, our interviewee said she heard a noise that sounded like an explosion from the electricity box in front of the building. According to de Fátima, it frequently produces this effect, many of which result in power cuts to the area.
“Not even the earthquake that struck the city produced such a thing,” she said.
The lack of alternatives means that she and her family continue to dwell in the crumbling building, which, to her eyes and those of everyone else stands in sore need of general maintenance.
Residents say that some of the apartments in the building are rented out, with at least two of the tenants being foreigners, one of Chinese and one of Indian origin.Source: Jornal Domingo