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Apartment Building Collapses, Kills 2

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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At least two people are dead after a seven-story residential building collapsed Sunday afternoon (Aug. 25) in Alexandria, Egypt.

Rescuers scoured the debris throughout Monday in search of survivors, news reports said.

apartments in Alexandria Egypt
Jeff Dahl / Wikimedia Commons

Collapses are common in Alexandria, Egypt, due to building code violations, corruption and unauthorized development, reports say. About 20 buildings in the city collapse each year.

The victims were identified as Mostafa Abdel-Hamid, 65, and his 55-year-old wife Amaal Gadallah. Abdel-Hamid was a retired senior Egyptian military general, ahramonline.com reported.

Evacuation Ordered

Hours before the collapse, officials in Egypt’s second-largest city had ordered residents in the apartment building to evacuate after inspectors discovered what one report called "sudden cracks." No details on the cracks were immediately available.

The couple reportedly failed to heed the evacuation order, saying they had no other place to go.

News reports Monday suggested the collapse was due to faulty construction, as the structure was built under a “period of lawlessness,” according to officials. However, at least one news report suggested that the building's structural integrity may have been disturbed by construction work going on next door, citing a Civil Defense Department official.

'Catastrophe Like This Will Repeat'

The governor of Alexandria described the apartment collapse as a “massacre by all standards” and warned that “a catastrophe like this will repeat in the future,” reports noted. At least one expert echoed the prediction.

Collapses are common in Egypt due to building-code violations, corruption and unauthorized development, reports relate.

Citing engineers, the BBC reported that about 20 buildings in Alexandria collapse each year.

In January, a building collapse was responsible for killing 28 and injuring dozens of others. That building had been constructed without a permit, the governor of Alexandria said. Last year, 13 people perished in two building collapses within four months in the city.

Alexandria University
Delengar / Wikimedia Commons

Nasser Darwish, a professor at the Structural Engineering Department of Alexandria University (pictured), told the BBC that more than 100 buildings in Alexandria were in danger of imminent collapse.

“These blocks are occupied by families with low incomes and families who were forced to buy homes in cheaper buildings which are illegal,” Nasser Darwish, a professor at the Structural Engineering Department of Alexandria University, told the BBC.

Darwish said hundreds of buildings in Alexandria had severe structural issues, with about 170 in danger of imminent collapse.

“Nobody wants to deal with the social problem of where you put the residents that need to be moved,” he said.

“Nobody wants to deal with the security problem of having to confront the buildings’ owners. So they are just left to collapse.”

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Building design; Engineers; Fatalities; Health and safety; Residential Construction

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