Egypt building collapse kills six

Bodies recovered from rubble of five-storey apartment block in Assiut, 400km south of Cairo

Apartment blocks in Cairo. Egypt's government has tried to crack down on illegal construction in recent years. EPA
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At least six people were killed on Sunday when a residential building collapsed in Egypt's Assiut province.

Building collapses are common in Egypt, where shoddy construction and a lack of maintenance are widespread in shanty towns, poorer city neighbourhoods and rural areas.

Rescue teams recovered six bodies from the rubble of the five-storey building in the Qulta neighbourhood of Assiut city, according to provincial governor Essam Saad. Assiut lies about 400km south of Cairo.

Mr Saad said rescuers found two survivors who were taken to a local hospital.

The authorities evacuated the surrounding apartment buildings and sent bulldozers and other equipment to clear and secure the site, he added.

Footage shared by the governor’s office showed rescuers clearing rubble as they searched through the building’s ruins.

Rescue teams were still searching for survivors on Sunday night, using bulldozers and diggers to lift debris as the security forces cordoned off the area around the building.

A bulldozer removes the debris from a building that collapsed in Cairo's El-Weili neighborhood in June, 2022. AP

It was not immediately clear what caused the building to collapse. Mr Saad said officials would investigate the incident and check the safety of the surrounding structures.

The collapse in Assiut came a day after the roof of a building in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria caved in, leaving two people dead and one injured.

The government has tried to crack down on illegal building in recent years after decades of lax enforcement. The authorities are building new cities and neighbourhoods to rehouse those living in at-risk areas.

But many Egyptian cities still contain entire neighbourhoods of unlicensed apartment blocks and shanty towns that do not conform to building codes.

Updated: January 09, 2023, 5:38 AM
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