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article imageDeath toll in Egyptian apartment building collapse climbs to 23

By Greta McClain     Jan 16, 2013 in World
Alexandria - At least 23 people have been confirmed dead after an eight-storey apartment building in Alexandria, Egypt collapsed Wednesday morning.
The building collapse occurred during the morning hours, meaning many of the residents were at home. Officials with the police department evacuated residents in two adjacent buildings out of concern that those buildings may have been damaged during the collapse.
Mohammed el-Sharqawy, a senior official with Egypt's Health Ministry, said in addition to the 23 killed during the collapse, 11 additional people were reported to be injured. Rescue crews, which included military police from a nearby naval base, conducted a search for survivors.
The reason for the building collapse has yet to be determined, but many are blaming poor construction and building specification violations. According to a Washington Post report, Alexandria's governor, Mohammed Abbas Atta, stated the apartments were built without obtaining a building permit. Housing Minister Tareq Wafeeq told reporters that between 2009 and 2012, an estimated 318,000 buildings were constructed illegally without proper permits. The building that collapsed was built five years ago according to police.
Rescuers search for trapped victims after an apartment collapsed in Alexandria  Egypt.
Rescuers search for trapped victims after an apartment collapsed in Alexandria, Egypt.
Screen Capture
Wednesday's collapse comes just one day after 19 police conscripts were killed after a train car derailed and ran into another train just outside Cairo. In November, 50 children were killed when a train slammed into their school bus in the southern part of Egypt. That tragedy resulted in heavy criticism of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, with opponents accusing him of failing to carry out promised reforms and overhauls of public services. Morsi has also been criticized for his lack of attention to deteriorating infrastructure throughout much of the country. Many believe the latest incidents will cause additional outcry.
While Morsi has blamed the failing infrastructure on 30 years of neglect by former President Mubarak, others point to the high cost of repairs as a reason for slow progress. According to Transport Minister Hatem Abdel-Lateef, just overhauling the country's railway system would cost an estimated $2.3 billion, a heavy burden on a country still attempting to recover from nearly two years of both political and economic upheaval.
Wednesday evening, Morsi attempted to defuse the mounting frustration and criticism, with a spokesman for his office offering condolences to the victim's families and promising to ensure that those injured receive the best care available.
More about Alexandria, Egypt, Building, Apartment, Collapse
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