Death toll rises to 18 in Egypt building collapse: state newspaper

Death toll rises to 18 in Egypt building collapse: state newspaper
At least 18 people died after a building collapsed in Cairo on Saturday, state media reported, increasing the death toll from the initial count.
2 min read
At least 18 people died in the building collapse [Getty]
The death toll from a building collapse in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Saturday has risen to 18, state media said.

"Emergency crews in Cairo managed to retrieve 18 corpses from under the rubble of the collapsed... property," the Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

Cairo's governorate initially reported five people were confirmed dead and 24 wounded in the incident, in the Gesr Suez district near Heliopolis, eastern Cairo.

Governor Khaled Abdel Aal "immediately went to the site of the incident, accompanied by civil protection forces," the Cairo governorate said earlier in the day. 

He ordered the "establishment of an engineering committee" to inspect surrounding buildings for damage, it said in a statement.

Egypt has suffered several deadly building collapses and industrial fire accidents in recent years, due to the dilapidation of many premises and poor adherence to planning regulations.

Last month another building collapsed in the Rod el-Farag area of Cairo, killing three people.

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.

The latest building collapse came the day after a deadly train crash in the southern governorate of Sohag on Friday, which killed 19 people.

Sharqia governorate also said Saturday that a fire ripped through ramshackle shops near the main train station in the eastern city of Zagazig. 

Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities are also dealing with a global crisis triggered by a ship that has been stuck in the Suez Canal since Tuesday.

The crisis has crippled global supply chains, forcing cargo firms to choose between waiting or the expensive option of rerouting vessels around the southern tip of Africa.

Egypt's Suez Canal chief said on Saturday that "technical or human errors" could be behind the grounding of a huge container ship blocking the vital waterway, causing a backlog of over 300 vessels.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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