On Sunday 2nd August, Senglea residents Carmen and Martin Abela fell victim to a roof collapse that will change their lives forever.
The clock had just struck 10pm, when the couple was abruptly woken up. A cloud of dust blocked their vision and their daughter’s cries pierced through the air.
Carmen rushed out of bed – only to find herself caked in blood.
The Abelas’ bedroom ceiling had collapsed right onto them, turning what was once a safe haven for the couple into a sight not dissimilar to a war zone.
Carmen and Martin were rushed to the hospital soon after the collapse took place – Martin was treated for injuries on his arm and behind his ear. His wife, on the other hand, received around 20 stitches to her face and head.
Shortly after the incident was reported, concerned citizens took to Facebook to express their anger towards the authorities for letting yet another infrastructure-related incident plague our country.
But eight days later, no one really gives the incident much thought anymore; bigger, more pressing matters take hold of our attention.
The Abelas, however, are still waiting for justice to take its course.
Eight days after the roof collapse, Lovin Malta talked to Carmen about her efforts to regain normality.
It’s noon and Carmen is on her way to the polyclinic to get her stitches checked out. “I’m not bad to be honest, I do have a bad headache though,” she tells Lovin Malta.
After the incident took place, Carmen and Martin could no longer reside in their Senglea house – but the Housing Authority provided them with a temporary residence in Msida.
“Now that we’ve been given an apartment, it feels like we’re not entitled to bring up any other injustices that are affecting us.”
“I still feel like we were left high and dry,” Carmen said. “The collapse destroyed my phone, laptop, television, and furniture – which was tailor-made to my bedroom and barely a year old.”
A kind soul offered to provide the Abela family with furniture to redecorate their bedroom, but knowing that it wouldn’t fit the required dimensions, Carmen thought it would be better to pass it on to someone else in need.
However, being temporarily relocated to Msida did not cut Carmen’s ties to her abode – and with good reason.
“I don’t drive, but I still go to my home in Isla once a day,” she said. “I have four cats that I couldn’t take with me to Msida, so I go back every day just to feed them.”
Carmen’s four cats are fully-grown, and therefore wouldn’t fare well in a new environment. In light of this, they are now living in a room at the Abela’s Isla home, safe from harm.
Whilst Carmen is slowly getting accustomed to this new way of life, she is irked by the knowledge that this incident could have been avoided if the concerns she voiced a couple of years ago were acknowledged.
“We had a leak in our ceiling, and when we approached the authorities about it, we were told to give it time to let it dry,” Carmen said.
“My furniture was drowning in water, but nothing happened for a year or two.”
The authorities haven’t yet concluded what caused the roof collapse and no magisterial inquiry into the case has been opened.