At least twelve killed after building collapses in Alexandria, Egypt

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

At least twelve bodies have been recovered from the rubble of an apartment building in Alexandria, Egypt. Ten people were hospitalized after the four-storey structure, which was illegal, collapsed in at around 1:00 a.m. Tuesday. No survivors have been pulled out since an eleven year old girl was rescued this morning. Search and rescue operations hare scheduled to end tonight.

The 53-year-old building was illegally modified in 1997 with the addition of two extra floors by owner Majdi al-Ishaqi. Two years ago, a court ordered the extra floors to be demolished but this never happened. Another subsequent order for renovations was also ignored. Structural alterations were demanded but never made.

"It was not in keeping with housing regulations. This is the third building to collapse in the district. The municipality cannot be exonerated," said Saleh Subhi of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood. "The building was already ready to collapse."

Two neighbouring apartment blocks were also evacuated, one suffering a partial roof collapse. One survivor, Samih Nazmi, said he and his parents escaped their ground floor dwelling relatively unscathed as the ground floor remained largely intact. He also described a sound akin to that of an exploding gas canister as the building came down.


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