Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 16:45 UK

Egypt winds up landslide rescue

By Christian Fraser
BBC News, Cairo

Aftermath of Cairo rockfall
Duwayqa is just one of many Cairo suburbs in a dangerous location

Rescue workers have ended a search for survivors in a Cairo slum where 10 days earlier a landslide buried dozens of homes, killing at least 90 people.

Soldiers and emergency services spent a week tunnelling beneath the enormous rocks that had fallen from a cliff, but failed to find anyone still alive.

Civil rights groups say it is possible hundreds of bodies remain buried.

An entire street in one of the Egyptian capital's poorest districts disappeared beneath the 15 metres of fallen rock.

It has been a slow, futile rescue effort, one which began far too late for those trapped beneath.

It was almost 24 hours before the real search began.

The Duwayqa district is home to thousands of Cairo's poorest people, many from the country, who live in crumbling, makeshift houses without even basic sanitation.

As the population of this city has swelled, the suburbs have grown unchecked and there are now entire communities living in these precarious conditions, many of them beneath overhanging cliff edges.

It is a sharp reminder that while the Egyptian economy grows in strength, the gap between the haves and have-nots yawns ever wider.

This week there have been angry protests in the suburbs from those demanding new housing units in safer areas.

The government, stung by criticism of its inadequate response, has begun an investigation.

Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif will oversee a review of some 13 unauthorised suburbs of the city, with special focus on areas close to unstable land.

The government says it will move and re-house those living in areas deemed too dangerous.

Pain haunts Cairo rockfall slum
10 Sep 08 |  Middle East
Egypt rockfall death toll rises
10 Sep 08 |  Middle East
In pictures: Cairo rescue bid
07 Sep 08 |  In Pictures
Deadly rockslide hits Cairo homes
06 Sep 08 |  Middle East
In pictures: Cairo rockslide
06 Sep 08 |  In Pictures

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