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Death toll from Cairo apartment building collapse climbs to 18

A man walks on the rubble of a collapsed nine-storey apartment building in the el-Salam neighbourhood of Cairo, Egypt.

A man walks on the rubble of a collapsed nine-storey apartment building in the el-Salam neighbourhood of Cairo, Egypt. Photo: AP

The death toll from the collapse of an apartment building in Cairo has climbed to 18, Egyptian state media reports.

The nine-storey building collapsed early on Saturday.

State newspaper Al-Ahram said rescue workers recovered the bodies over the course of the day.

Excavators could be seen digging through the debris in the el-Salam neighbourhood as police cordoned off the area, keeping back onlookers and people searching for relatives in the building.

Emergency workers sift through the rubble of the collapsed apartment building. Photo: AP

“They took four people out in front of me, who looked like they were almost gone,” Mohamamed Mostafa, a resident of the neighbourhood, said.

At least 24 others were injured and taken to hospitals, according to a statement by Khalid Abdel-Al, the administrative head of Cairo governorate.

It was not immediately clear what caused the building’s collapse, with an engineering committee formed to examine the structural integrity of neighbouring buildings, Mr 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 port of Alexandria, developers seeking bigger profits frequently violate building permits.

Extra floors are often added without proper permits.

The government has recently launched a crackdown on illegal building across the country, jailing violators and in many cases destroying the buildings.

-AAP

Topics: Egypt
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