Yesterday, the residents of Alexandria, Egypt, were treated to a rare occurrence when a 13-story building tilted across the street and rested on another apartment block with tenants inside.
City officials had to cut electricity and gas supplies to the residential building to avert possible fire incidents in the area.
Police were also called in to help evacuate residents who had been trapped inside the two apartment blocks and surrounding structures. Luckily, no fatalities or injuries were reported in the morning incident, according to News24.
More about this
The Egyptian military has cordoned off the area for safe demolition of the building.
The Alexandria tramway network in the area has also been stopped to prevent vibrations that might cause the structure to disintegrate.
The city Governor Mohammed Sultan later issued a press statement assuring the evacuees that his government is coordinating with the Ministry of Social Solidarity to ensure all necessary emergency services are provided to them.
Sultan also formed a committee to look into the possible cause of the collapse, stressing that all those responsible will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
But according to the Egypt Independent, the building was constructed in 2002 and had been earmarked for demolition in 2004 after city authorities noticed faults with its foundation.
However, the tenants refused to leave, making it hard for the demolition exercise to go on.
Engineer Ali Morsi, who is the head of the Central District in Alexandria, suspects that the recent demolition of another 3-story building adjacent to the ill-fated building could have led to the collapse of its foundation.
Many Egyptians are blaming the incident on the government’s failure to inspect newly-constructed buildings to ensure they are safe for habitation.
Wahid H. Sharaf wrote on Facebook:
“And that [is] in the land where once upon a time man was capable of building pyramids to last thousands of years…!”
This incident comes just two months after nine people were injured in Cairo when a five-story building collapsed at night following a mild earthquake.
In November 2014, another block of flats collapsed in Cairo, killing at least 17 people and injuring seven others. A year before that, an eight-story block of flats in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria collapsed and killed 28 people.
Experts say these incidents are as a result of unauthorized construction and lack of proper oversight by the relevant authorities. They warn that many buildings in Egypt are death traps.