Demolition begins after Barcelona tunnel disaster

Demolition work finally begins following Barcelona’s Carmel underground construction disaster, which left thousands of residents homeless…

After almost two months of emotive residents’ protests and furious political infighting, demolition work has began on buildings ruined by Barcelona’s Carmel underground construction disaster.
The residential blocks have been derelict since 27 January, when a new section of the city's metro tunnel caved in, destroying a block of flats, damaging several others and leaving a huge crater.

While nobody was killed, over 1,000 people in the densely-populated district instantly became homeless, and Catalan politics approached a state of frenzy in debating who should carry the cost.

The first day of the demolition process revealed that it would be more complex than originally thought, and could take much longer than the initial estimate of two to three weeks.

Dubbed a ‘demolition de luxe’ by the local press, the three buildings must be painstakingly dismantled by hand, floor by floor, to avoid further damaging the surrounding blocks, and costs will be far higher than the estimated 750,000 euros (£532,000).

The demolition represents a mere fraction of the total cost of the disaster, which will include a parliamentary commission, the renovation of other buildings damaged by the accident, the sealing of the crater, re-housing of residents. compensation to businesses, and the possible redirection of an entire section of the city's underground rail system.

Meanwhile, outrage is brewing among Carmel’s inhabitants, whose faith in the authorities has been severely dented.

They claim they were given no official notification of the start of the demolition, and place little confidence in plans to stabilise the district and salvage their homes.

A placard hung from one balcony calls for, ‘Less botched jobs, more solutions’.

One long-time Carmel resident of a near by block of flats said he wants his home demolished too, “Our homes are already worth nothing,” he said.