At least 11 people were killed in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria before dawn on Wednesday when a four-storey apartment block collapsed as families slept, a security official said.
Eleven bodies were pulled from the rubble of the building where 35 people lived, and 10 people were injured, the official said.
The recovered bodies included a woman locked in an embrace with her baby, the official Mena news agency reported, adding that the search was going on for more bodies.
The building collapsed at about 1am local time when most residents were sleeping, the official said, adding there might be up to 15 more people still under the rubble.
Alexandria Governor Adel Labib told state television that rescue operations would end on Wednesday.
Saleh Subhi, an MP from the opposition Muslim Brotherhood who was at the scene, blamed municipal authorities for the accident.
”The building was known to need renovation work,” he said, adding that the block’s owner had recently added two storeys to the building.
”The building was already ready to collapse,” he said. ”It was not in keeping with housing regulations. This is the third building to collapse in the district. The municipality cannot be exonerated.” Municipal authorities were not immediately available to comment.
Such incidents are relatively frequent in Egypt where building regulations are often flouted and additional floors are added without permission.
Last December, 35 people were killed when a 12-storey building collapsed, also in Alexandria.
In 2005, the collapse of a six-storey building there killed 19 people. Three extra storeys had been added illegally.
Tougher legislation against construction companies, which ignore the law, was introduced in 1996 after a building in a Cairo residential area caved in, killing 64 people.
Wednesday’s building collapse came a month after a massive rockfall buried dozens of homes in a Cairo shantytown, killing more than 100 residents.
Most of the brick-built dwellings in the district had two floors and were put up without permission.
Residents blamed the rockslide on work that had been going on for several weeks on the Moqattam hill overlooking the shantytown, and said the authorities had been warned of the dangers of just such a disaster. — Sapa-AFP