700k euros raised for supermarket tragedy victims, funerals held for rescue officers today

  • 2013-11-24
  • By Rayyan Sabet-Parry, RIGA

A resident pays tributes to victims of the supermarket collapse tragedy (photo by Tor Bernhard Slaathaug for the Baltic Times)

Over 700,000 euros (596,588 lats) has been donated to victims of the Riga supermarket tragedy and their families, reports LETA.

A special donation account will be open for at least another two weeks, the Ziedot charity said.

So far, the charity has paid out 4,500 lats to each family of the 83 victims, who either died or were injured in the tragedy.

Residents who wish to donate are requested to call the 90006385 charity phone number, or use other opportunities to donate via the www.ziedot.lv website.

At least fifty-four people are now confirmed dead with dozens more injured after a shopping center roof collapsed in the Zolitude neighborhood on Thursday evening, Nov. 21.

The Riga supermarket tragedy has become the largest loss of life since the restoration of independence in 1991.

It's believed the collapse may have been caused by violations of construction rules. A police investigation is currently ongoing.

Latvian construction company Re&Re said they would take full responsibility for the disaster if found guilty. Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs has suspended six members of the Riga City Council's construction board who authorized documents on construction and reconstruction of the supermarket.

Meanwhile, Lithuanian supermarket chain Maxima has agreed to pay compensation to the victims of the tragedy whilst promising a full inspection of all its stores.

Search and rescue operations completed at the collapsed Maxima supermarket in Riga on Monday. Nov. 24.

Emergency services combed the last remaining section of the destroyed supermarket but no bodies were found. 

Thousands have been paying tributes to the victims by laying candles, flowers and messages of support. The incident has also led to a global outpouring of support from worldwide leaders including Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Funerals for the State Fire and Rescue Service officers who died in the disaste rescue effort will be held on Wed, Nov. 27. A total of 557 search and rescue personnel took part in the rescue operations.

Marcis Liors Skadmanis, whose father and 23-year-old sister were killed in the collapse, said that the accident is a horrifying national tragedy that has brought pain, sorrow and anger to many families.

Skadmanis, who is chairman of the Latvian-British Chamber of Commerce, sends a positive message to one and all, to remember and keep the deceased in loving memory, "for the love they gave, and for their achievements, that they leave to us."

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said that the authorities must do everything in their power to identify every person who should be held responsible for the collapse of the supermarket.

"This tragic event has shocked the nation, it is unspeakable loss to the families of the victims and the entire state," Dombrovskis told reporters on Nov. 25.

Earlier, Latvian President, Andris Berzins called the tragedy an act of 'mass murder'. A full of investigation is underway as to the cause of the collapse.