Saturday, September 01, 2007

The inevitable occurs in Baku


A little more than a year ago, I posted something on the destruction of Baku's remaining neighborhoods of charm and authenticity, adding that the majority of the new high-rises sprouting up in the city--changing forever Baku's character--are catastrophes waiting to happen: "...all the Baku contractors mix the concrete...with sand to save money. It also makes the concrete dangerously weak, and when the next big earthquake comes, thousands of Azeris will die needlessly when the high-rises collapse."

Well, a few days ago, a crane bumped into one of these buildings under construction. And it collapsed. So far, twelve bodies have been pulled out of the rubble. Of course, there are the predictable warnings from officials that all the buildings erected by the contractor will now be inspected. Gosh, I wonder what those officials have been doing for the past three years when everyone in Baku knows what's going on?

Let's not think about that. Reportedly, a Baku newspaper has suggested a terror link, and one article mentioned that Russia might have an "interest" in the collapse of a building in Azerbaijan. This is in keeping with my "Rules for Azeris" - one of which is "Whenever possible, blame the other guy."

Mind you, when the next earthquake comes, there will be a lot more than 12 bodies to recover...

A pic of the rubble in downtown Baku appears above (Reuters), and you can go here for the Reuters story.