Rio 2016 hires 500-strong task force to fix village problems
Updated: 2016-07-25 10:35
General view of athletes' accommodation can be seen during a guided tour for journalists to the 2016 Rio Olympics Village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 23, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
RIO DE JANEIRO -- An emergency task force of more than 500 workers has been contracted to fix problems at the Rio 2016 Olympic village, organizers said on Sunday.
The announcement came after the Australian team refused to move into the complex, citing issues such as "blocked toilets, leaking pipes and exposed wiring."
Australia had been due to enter the village on July 21 but has since arranged alternative accommodation at nearby hotels, according to an official statement on the Australian Olympic website.
Olympic village mayor, Janeth Arcain, said the special task force began working on Sunday to make all "the necessary adjustments" by Wednesday.
"In 48 hours - or three days at the most - everything will be resolved," Arcain said. "We have reinforced our staff to resolve the issue.
"Those in charge of the Australia delegation came before the opening of the village and complained about some minor things, and that's why they have postponed the arrival of their athletes. They have every right to demand that the facilities are in perfect condition."
Earlier, Australian delegation chief Kitty Chiller said the country's Olympic committee had been working for more than a week to "get our section of the village ready for our athletes".
"Due to a variety of problems in the Village, including gas, electricity and plumbing, I have decided that no Australian team member will move into our allocated building."
"Problems include blocked toilets, leaking pipes, exposed wiring, darkened stairwells where no lighting has been installed and dirty floors in need of a massive clean."
Chiller added that the British and New Zealand delegations had reported similar problems.
Rio 2016 organizing chief Carlos Nuzman said the need for additional work was understandable given the village was only completed last month.
"It's natural that when something just opens, there is going to be a few problems," Nuzman said. "All Olympic Games and villages have had problems in the past. We want to do the best we can. We have explained to all of the delegation chiefs that we should try to resolve all the issues through dialogue."
Built at a cost of around $1.5 billion, the 31-building village will house 18,000 athletes and officials during the August 5-21 Games.
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