RIGA, November 22, 19:56 /ITAR-TASS/. Latvian Culture Minister Dace Melbarde on Friday called for cancelling all cultural events and entertainments in Latvia in the next three days of mourning for the people who died under the collapsed roof of Riga’s Maxima trading center late last Thursday, the press service of the Latvian Culture Ministry reports.
“I am urging all cultural institutions as well as musical and art school to carefully plan their schedule of events for the next three days, starting of November 22, to pay tribute to the dead people,” the minister said.
The local authorities have declared November 23, 24 and 25 to be days of mourning in Latvia. All Latvian flags will fly at half mast. A minute of silence for the accident’s victims is to be observed at noon on Monday.
The incident occurred on Thursday evening, on November 21. One of the walls at the Maxima trading center went down. The roof collapsed later. Another wall collapsed after rescue teams had already started clearing the territory from rubble. The area of subsidence was about 500 square meters.
Latvia’s State Firefighting Service puts the death toll at 45 people, including three rescuers. About 40 people were injured, receiving traumas of various degrees. They include ten firefighters.
Thirty three people were hospitalized. All the others refused to go to hospital, having received only first medical aid.
Rescuers working at the scene believe that about 25 people are still trapped under the ruble.