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Building collapses in Cairo killing 18, injuring 24

Workers in Cairo search for survivors after a building collapsed on Saturday.   -  
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Tarek wajeh/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved -

Egypt

A nine-storey apartment building collapsed in the Egyptian capital early Saturday, killing at least five people (see update below) and injuring about two dozen others, an official said.

Rescue workers were searching for any survivors trapped under the rubble of the building in the el-Salam neighbourhood, said Khalid Abdel-Al, the administrative head of the Cairo governorate.

At least 24 others were injured and taken to hospitals, he said in a statement.

Police cordoned off the area, keeping back the curious and people apparently looking for relatives in the building. Workers were seen using bulldozers to clear away debris.

It was not immediately clear what caused the building's collapse.

An engineering committee was formed to examine the structural integrity of neighbouring buildings, Abdel-Al said.

Building collapses are not uncommon in Egypt, where shoddy construction is widespread in shantytowns, poor city neighbourhoods and rural areas.

With real estate at a premium in big cities like Cairo and the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, developers seeking bigger profits frequently violate building permits.

Extra floors often are added without proper government permits.

The government has recently launched a crackdown on illegal building across the country -- jailing violators and in many cases destroying the buildings.
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Update: Sunday, March 28, 2021

Local Egyptian media outlets say the death toll from the collapse has climbed to 18 -- as the search and rescue workers recovered more bodies over the course of the day.

The initial death toll provided by the administrative head of the Cairo governorate office was at nine as of Saturday evening.

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