At Least Eleven Dead in Cairo Building Collapse

Published May 14th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

At least eleven people died, including a family of four, when their Cairo apartment building collapsed in the early hours of Sunday, security sources and witnesses said. 

Emergency repairs had been carried out on the six-floor building in the poor Sayeda Zeinab area of the Egyptian capital on Saturday, just hours before the tragedy happened, neighbours said. 

Two people were pulled from the rubble alive and rescuers were working Sunday to find around eight others thought to be trapped in the remains of the 50-year-old building, police officers said. 

Eleven dead bodies have so far been removed, including those of lawyer Ashraf Abdel Rahman Darwish, his wife Abeer and their toddler children Mustafa and Mohammed, they said. 

One witness told AFP a man and his four children managed to escape from the building before it collapsed shortly after 1:00 a.m. (2200 GMT Saturday) after seeing sand falling from the structure. 

One resident who escaped, Um Ahmed, said she, her husband and daughter left the building at the suggestion of neighbors who said dust was emerging from the first floor.  

"Five minutes after we fled, the building collapsed," said Ahmed, who lived on the top story.  

The pro-government newspaper Al-Ahram said 25 people had left the building on Saturday when cracks appeared in its masonry. The city council ordered the landlord to repair the building.  

Ahmed said that on Friday, each tenant paid 1,000 Egyptian pounds ($299) to the contractor for repairs to the building 

Another man said workers had been digging inside the building to prepare for emergency reinforcement work the day before it fell down. 

Other witnesses said residents had begun to notice water seeping from the ground beneath the block several weeks before the incident. 

Security sources said the occupants had been ordered to leave the building after the emergency repairs were ordered, but most were still living inside when it folded. Seven of the building's 12 apartments were inhabited at the time – (Agencies) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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