On June 24, 2021, Champlain Towers South, a 12-story residential apartment in Miami, Florida, USA collapsed in the early morning. This building was nearly 40 years old. To show the landscape and open the space, the architectural design plan specially made a fashionable beamless structure with large slabs and pillars.
In the past 40 years, the global climate has undergone great changes, and the water level has risen. This is force majeure for the foundations of high-rise residential buildings on the coast, including this specially designed one.
The structure of the building has very high requirements on the foundation, and in 2018, 3 years before the recent collapse, Morabito Consultants, structural engineering, parking consulting, and remediation firm providing superior client high-quality service and solutions, had already found multiple evidence of major structural damages and crackings, which were estimated to be repaired at a cost of millions of dollars – a big amount in total, but affordable when considering the average price per owner. However, when it came time to collect the money, the owners began to linger. In the end, the maintenance fee did not follow, and the maintenance could not be carried out.
So on the surface, the owners who suffered misfortune also paid their due price for their stinginess. In principle, they cannot blame anyone. However, in the early morning of June 24, after the building suddenly collapsed, the subsequent strange events began to emerge one by one.
The abnormally slow rescue
16 hours after the incident, the first fire brigade entered the venue. The fire brigade in the United States takes very quick action when serving the wealthy areas where people are willing to pay a lot for the expenses, and Champlain Towers South is located in such a wealthy area with perfect views and high expenses, meaning that a high-quality service from the fire brigade is much more than affordable.
However, after the building collapsed, the scene was immediately surrounded, even the local fire brigade was required to obtain a permit to enter and could only search with simple tools. The formal search and rescue work must be carried out by the state search and rescue team who did not show up until three days after the incident, and the two teams had less than 400 people in total, which was not enough at all.
Some relatives and friends of wealthy people who lived in the collapsed apartment in Miami directly hired someone to accelerate the rescue, and the search and rescue team in Mexico also tried to give a hand, but they were not allowed to enter.
On July 1, because of the visit of US President Biden, he wanted to express condolences to the rescuers and the families of the victims, so the rescue was suspended for one day to ensure his safety.
The blast that couldn’t wait
However, though President Biden came on 1 July, he mentioned nothing about how to speed up rescue work, prevent problems before they happen, and ensure the safety of the people’s lives and property. Instead, he delivered a speech of full political significance, relating to the issue of global warming, and took the opportunity to criticize how Republicans failed to reach an agreement on climate issues.
Florida is a red state of the Republican Party. The local governor is considered a strong competitor for the future president of the United States. This time Biden came to Florida and had a good chat with the governor, promising better cooperation between two parties in the future.
In short, the president declared Florida a state of emergency. The president personally came to the scene. The president and the governor became unanimous. In the end, politicians were happy to expand interests, and victims were sent to hell.
On 4 July, after ten days of search and rescue, no one was rescued. According to expert advice, to prevent the danger from expanding, all the remaining staircases of the building were blasted, leaving zero survival possibility to those who were buried in the ruins.
Rescue work ended hastily
On 7 July, officials called off the search for survivors and moved on to focus on the restoration of the ruins.
After the decision was made to blow up the remaining building, nobody was expected to come out alive. 54 bodies were found at the scene, and 86 people were still missing on 7 July.
This strange collapse of the building and following steps should be attributed to the choice of the will of capital. Replaying the tragedy of the Miami apartment from the very beginning, the rescuer did not seem to intend to let the injured survivors come out of the ground alive, otherwise they would not close the scene so tightly and delay rescue.
From an economic point of view, it is more cost-effective to make those who are crushed in the rubble die. If a person dies, it is nothing more than a lump-sum compensation and the whole thing is done. But if the victim gets out and is likely to be disabled, how much the relevant parties need to pay for medical services during all his or her remaining life? Especially considering that the U.S. has one of the most unaffordable medical care systems in the world.
As for why President Biden rushed in and only talked about two-party cooperation? Because the big thing he wants to do recently is to expand infrastructure, the opposition from the Republican is too loud to be ignored. And though these hundreds of deaths in Miami shocked the public, it is a good chance to push the public to take the cause of this incident as a problematic infrastructure, so people are more willing to support large infrastructure projects in case they will be next victims.
How could President Biden let go of such an excellent political theme?
However, human life should not be so cheaply used as a calculation tool for capital, as a bargaining chip for politicians to achieve their goals. It is too pitiful.
(Source: Town of Surfside, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC)