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More than 90pct Romanian schools unauthorized by firefighters, says interim PM

Only seven percent of Romania’s 19,000 schools have fire prevention authorizations, interim prime minister Sorin Cimpeanu – also the minister of education – asserted on Saturday.

“Based on the transparency principle I’ve already announced, as not admitting the problems does not mean they are solved, I am answering you also in my capacity of education minister, an office I still hold: out of the 19,000 schools in Romania, just seven percent have authorizations (…) on fire prevention – exactly 1,295 schools,” Cimpeanu answered media questions at the Victoria Palace.

He explained that the authorization procedure is “neither simple, nor quick or cheap. The authorization project must be drafted by licensed officials. It costs between 10,000 and 12,000 to 15,000 euros and takes 6, 7, 8, 12 months, depending on the safety of each building, of each location. The capacity to provide these services is low. There was also insufficient attention to this issue over the past 25 years.”

During the same press conference at the Government offices, state secretary Raed Arafat of the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced ongoing verifications in clubs: “If we find any club or disco that exceeds the numbers [of customers] stipulated in the authorization, we will close it for 60 days and fine ot by 30 (thousand) and 100,000 lei, as per the law.”

Asked how many hospitals lack the fire fighters’ authorization, health minister Nicolae Banicioiu answered that an evaluation was in progress and the figure will be released next week.

The preoccupation for fire safety occurs in the aftermath of the October 30 fire in the Colectiv nightclub, as seven more victims of the incident died on Saturday and more than 60 hospitalized wounded are still in serious or critical condition.

The deaths count now stands at 39.

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