On the 6th of February 2023 at 04:17 TRT a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck southern Türkiye and north-western Syria. As of this writing the quake has killed over 50,000 people, with over 120,000 injured, the great majority of them in Tűrkiye. There have been over 2100 aftershocks, with over 230 of those registering M4.0 or higher. Regional support was swift to Syria, with Russian troops still stationed in Syria aiding in rescue and relief efforts, not so much in Tűrkiye. More than 80 countries have offered material aid and assistance. Absent from those 80 were Western nations until very recently. The chart is rather interesting for several reasons. The quake is already having geopolitical effects, too. For more, read on… Continue reading “The 2023 Türkiye-Syria earthquake”
Il Ponte Morandi (the Morandi Bridge) in Genoa, Italy was a landmark bridge on the A10 Autostrada across the Polcevera viaduct. It was one of the main road links between Italy and France and part of the European route E80. On 14 Aug 18 at 11:36 am local time, a large section of it came crashing down, taking the lives of 43 people with it and permanently displacing over 600 others who lived below the bridge. It is set to be demolished within a month of this writing, along with the buildings below it, which are large apartment blocks and a few industries. The cause of the collapse is currently under investigation, with 20 people so far having been indicted for manslaughter over the incident, including government ministers of infrastructure. Lack of maintenance is widely held to be the cause of the collapse.
Spending on infrastructure in much of Europe has dramatically dropped since the 2008 financial crisis. A witness at a bus stop (article in Italian) described the moment the bridge collapsed, saying she saw the tie-rods snap simultaneously, making the carriageway rise up, and then the span broke, collapsing the entire section. Fingers were immediately pointed at the Autostrade Company, a private Italian contractor owned by the Benneton family, who oversaw the maintenance of the bridge, and from then on fingers were pointing everywhere – at the government, at the EU, at anyone who could possibly be blamed. Continue reading “Morandi: Bridges and Italy’s troubled waters.”