Fri | Dec 8, 2023

Experts say wall that collapsed and killed 9 in Dominican Republic capital was poorly built

Published:Monday | November 20, 2023 | 2:58 PM
Rescue teams work at the place where a wall collapsed at the entrance of a tunnel in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023. According to Civil Defense at least 9 people were killed when the wall fell down due to heavy rains. ( AP Photo/Eddy Vittini)

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — A concrete wall along an avenue in the Dominican Republic's capital that collapsed over the weekend and killed nine people during heavy rains was poorly designed, experts said Monday.

The government of the Caribbean country has come under scrutiny, with experts saying they had warned more than 20 years ago about the wall's failures and lack of effort to fix them.

“It has weaknesses in the design,” civil engineer Cristian Rojas told The Associated Press.

“No anchors were placed, and that is why the wall collapsed.”

Rojas, former president of the Dominican College of Engineers, Architects and Surveyors, said the force of the water in a flooded adjacent avenue, combined with the type of wall that was built, led to the collapse.

Dominican geologist Osiris de Léon recalled that the first warnings about the wall were made more than two decades ago.

He posted a story from December 1999 on X, formerly known as Twitter, in which El Siglo newspaper quoted the college recommending that the wall be rebuilt because it was cracked and “it can fall and cause a tragic accident.”

The collapse occurred Saturday in Santo Domingo when a portion of the wall that runs along the heavily transited 27 of February Avenue fell in one piece, crushing cars and their occupants, authorities said.

Among the victims were Puerto Rico prosecutor Michael Orozco, his wife, María Nereida Martínez, and his in-laws, according to Javier Rivera, president of the island's Association of Prosecutors. Martínez was pregnant.

Follow The Gleaner on X, formerly Twitter, and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at or