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article imageTwo walls give way in Pompeii; second collapse in as many days

By Subir Ghosh     Dec 1, 2010 in Travel
Two more walls collapsed on Wednesday inside Pompeii's 2,000-year-old archaeological site, the second such incident in as many days.
The two walls collapsed early Wednesday morning, in all likelihood because of heavy rains over the past several days, the office of Pompeii's archaeological superintendent said in a statement. The collapse involved an area 2m high and 3m wide of the wall along one of the site's main streets, the Via Stabiana. Another small chunk of a side room in the "House of the Small Lupanare," which was not open to the public, also gave away the same day. Earlier on Tuesday, a section of a modern retaining wall in the "House of the Moralist" had crumbled down.
The area has been cordoned off.
Superintendent Jeannette Papadopoulos said in the statement, "It's quite possible for these kind of events to occur in a vast archaeological site dating back two millennia, especially during such weather conditions. They should not generate excessive alarm or sensationalism,"
In July 2008 Italy declared a "state of emergency" for Pompeii, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, saying it had fallen into serious disrepair. But of late, the decay of the Roman-era site has been an embarrassment for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government, especially after the "House of the Gladiators" collapsed on November 6. Culture Minister Sandro Bondi even faces a no-confidence motion over the issue. The minister dismissed concerns as "useless alarmism" and asserted that the situation in Pompeii was being "constantly monitored by experts."
Pompeii mayor Claudio D'Alessio, a member of the opposition Democratic party, told The Guardian that the damage at the House of the Gladiators should have triggered an emergency intervention by the government which, "as demonstrated by today's collapse, has not taken place".
After last month's incident, it had been reported that almost three-quarters of Pompeii was "at risk" of collapse and 40 per cent of its buildings were in need of urgent restoration work.
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