A 13-story apartment building has collapsed in Alexandria, Egypt, reported Kamal Tabikha of The National News.
The government said four people were injured in the collapse. Witnesses told local media that several people remain trapped beneath the rubble, including residents and customers of a supermarket in the building.
According to Alexandria’s governor, Maj Gen Mohamed El Sherif, the block’s occupants were all holidaymakers who do not live in the city but were visiting during the summer months.
El Sherif said the building dates back to the 1970s, adding that it had been scheduled for demolition months ago. He confirmed that an investigation had begun to determine exactly why the building collapsed.
An initial police report determined that the building’s collapse was the result of a “vertical split” in its structure.
Rescue teams are on-site to remove the rubble and determine whether there are people trapped under it. El Sherif said that only one person has been reported injured so far, which conflicts with witness reports and information provided by the municipal government.
Municipal officials announced that the four people injured in the collapse were transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. Hospitals in the area have been asked to prepare for the arrival of any additional victims.
Building collapses are common in Egypt, where unsupervised construction is rampant in the country’s rural provinces as well as in densely populated, unofficial settlements in its big cities.
MP Mahmoud Essam submitted a request to house speaker Hanafi Gabali in June to establish a more comprehensive strategy for dealing with the issue of building collapses in Egypt.
“With every incident, condemnations are issued without an integrated vision to address these problems on the ground,” Essam said.
He added that more than 7,000 buildings in Alexandria are under threat of collapse and called on the government to implement a more permanent solution.
In January, six people were killed when an apartment building south of Egypt collapsed. The following month, another six people died and 27 were injured when a four-story building north of Egypt was brought down after a room full of gas cylinders exploded.
In April, another building collapsed in Alexandria, killing six people and injuring five others.