22 families evacuated after huge sinkhole opens up in Rome

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-16 01:10:19|Editor: yan
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ROME, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- At least 22 families were evacuated here on Wednesday evening after a large sinkhole opened up in the street of a northwest district of this capital city, local media reported Thursday.

At least six cars were drawn into a 10-meter-deep hole shortly before 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) local time.

No injures were reported, but local authorities ordered the "precautionary evacuation" of 22 families from two apartment blocks.

"Overall, the evacuation concerns 50 to 60 people," Ansa news agency quoted Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi as saying.

The buildings are to undergo security checks, before the families can return, according to the mayor. If not safe to return, they are to be provided with temporary housing by the municipality, Raggi added.

The incident occurred in Balduina, which is a wealthy residential neighborhood in the northwest of the capital. Firefighters resumed their work early on Thursday, after working until late Wednesday night to secure the area.

Visiting the area soon after the incident, Raggi told reporters an investigation into the causes of the collapse would be launched, and those responsible for the incident "would pay".

Beside the area where the sinkhole appeared, construction works for new apartment blocks and an underground parking area have been underway since October 2017, local media said.

Local residents had reported water leaks in the affected street last month, and some repairs had been carried out between Jan. 25 and 28.

On Thursday, prosecutors in Rome confirmed an inquiry had been opened into the case. It isn't the first episode of its kind in Rome.

Last May, a five-meter-wide sinkhole appeared at Gianicolo hill in the southwest Monteverde district after heavy rain at night. No injures were reported.

In mid-January, a 78-year-old woman fell into another sinkhole two meters deep, which opened up in the central Nomentano neighborhood. The woman was sent to hospital with minor injuries.