13 August 2004
BRUSSELS — Checks on Belgium’s underground gas pipes are woefully inadequate, according to a newspaper investigation.
The Flemish daily De Tijd revealed on Friday that the independent inspection team – the Administration for Quality and Security – has just 10 or so engineers responsible for checking the country’s 3,706 kilometres of gas pipes.
Ghislenghien – the scene of the horrific explosion on July 30 – is just one of many sites still to be inspected by engineers.
The team is calling for more staff to allow them to do their job properly.
Energy Minister Marc Verwilghen (VLD) wants to improve the situation and is particularly concerned to see the Administration regularly check gas pipes near building works.
While investigations into the exact cause of the Ghislenghien tragedy continue, the death toll of the victims continues to rise.
A 19th person died in hospital on Thursday. Daphne Jacques Gheelen, 34, had been in a critical condition since the accident.
Another 55 people are still in hospital, with 33 of them described as being in a highly critical condition.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news