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Nine dead as five-storey apartment building collapses in Cairo

A five-storey apartment building has collapsed in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, leaving at least nine people dead, authorities said, as rescuers searched through the rubble.

Building collapses are common in Egypt, where shoddy construction and a lack of maintenance are widespread in shantytowns, poor city neighbourhoods and rural areas.

The state-run MENA news agency reported that rescue teams recovered at least nine bodies from under the rubble of the building in Cairo’s neighbourhood of Hadaeq el-Qubbah, roughly 3.2 kilometres from the city’s centre.

Four survivors were also taken to a hospital and authorities evacuated a neighbouring apartment building, MENA said on Monday.

Following an initial inspection, Cairo’s deputy governor, Hossam Fawzi, said the collapse was caused by one of the ground-floor residents who removed a number of walls during earlier maintenance work.

The man has been detained and will be investigated, he said.

Egypt’s Ministry of Social Solidarity said it would give 60,000 Egyptian pounds ($2850) to the families of the nine victims.

The ministry also said it would deliver aid to the injured and was monitoring the damage to nearby properties.

Police forces cordoned off the area as rescue teams combed the rubble in search for possible survivors, according to local reports.

The government has tried to crack down on illegal building in recent years after decades of lax enforcement.

Authorities are also building new cities and neighbourhoods to rehouse those living in at-risk areas.

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