A five-story apartment building has collapsed in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, leaving at least 12 people dead, as rescuers at the scene searched through the rubble.
The state-run MENA news agency reported that rescue teams recovered at least 12 bodies from under the rubble of the building on Monday in Cairo’s neighbourhood of Hadaeq el-Qubbah, roughly 3.2km (2 miles) from the city’s centre.
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Four survivors were also taken to hospital and authorities evacuated a neighbouring apartment building, MENA said.
Cairo’s deputy governor, Hossam Fawzi, said 12 people were killed and that efforts continued to find two missing people.
State newspaper Al-Ahram said 13 people were killed.
It was not immediately clear what caused the collapse of the building. Following an initial investigation, Egypt’s Public Prosecutor said the collapse was likely caused by one of the ground floor residents who removed a number of walls during earlier maintenance work. The male resident was arrested and is being questioned, it said.
Egypt’s Ministry of Social Solidarity said it would give 60,000 Egyptian pounds ($1939) to the families of the victims killed in the incident.
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 through the rubble in search of possible survivors, according to local reports.
Building collapses are common in Egypt, where shoddy construction and a lack of maintenance are widespread in poor city neighbourhoods and rural areas.
On Sunday, four people lost their lives and 13 others were injured in another building collapse in northern Egypt. In June, 10 people were killed when their 13-storey building collapsed in the coastal city of Alexandria.
In 2021, at least 18 people were killed and dozens of others injured when an apartment building in Cairo collapsed.
The government has tried to crack down on illegal buildings in recent years after decades of lax enforcement. Authorities are also building new cities and neighbourhoods to rehouse those living in at-risk areas.
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 are often added without proper government permits.