Death toll from collapse of Brazil buildings rises to 15

April 16, 2019
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People walk on a damaged street due the heavy rain and next to the site where two buildings collapsed in Muzema neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, April 13, 2019. Firefighters keep searching for survivors after two buildings collapsed leaving at least seven victims and seventeen people missing, according the authorities. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian firefighters and health professionals say the death toll from a pair of collapsed buildings in Rio de Janeiro has risen to 15.

Officials said Tuesday that nine people are still missing and could be under the rubble.

The attorney general’s office previously linked last week’s tragedy to the role of militias which often take over suburban areas in Rio to build and sell unregulated housing.

But in a statement released Monday night, it said the municipality failed to comply with earlier rulings mandating that stronger measures be taken to alleviate the impact of rainfall on building structures.

The rulings included a personal subpoena and fine against Rio Mayor Marcelo Crivella.

The attorney general’s office said it has filed 101 similar lawsuits against the city about the issue since 2006.