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Last Updated: Monday, 24 December 2007, 12:43 GMT
Block of flats collapses in Egypt
Collapsed building, Alexandria
Many residents had already left the building for work and school
At least five people have died when a 12-storey block of flats collapsed in Egypt's second city, Alexandria.

Rescue workers searched through the rubble for survivors of the collapse in the eastern suburb of Loran.

Collapses happen frequently in Egypt's overcrowded urban centres, where many buildings are constructed with poor materials and regulations are flouted.

The area has been cordoned off and blocks nearby suffering structural damage were also evacuated.

Reports say the dead include two women and two men, as well as a four-year-old girl.

Two storeys had been added illegally to the building and local authorities ordered them removed as long ago as 1995, though the order was never implemented.

Rescued from rubble

Egypt map
An operations room was set up to co-ordinate rescue efforts, according to Alexandria Governor Adel Labib who visited the scene of the collapse.

Local hospitals had been alerted to prepare for injured, Mr Labib said, quoted by the official Mena news agency.

The governor said renovation work had been going on the first floor of the block when the building started listing and collapsed.

Four people were injured, but had been rescued from the rubble.

In 2005, at least 16 people died when a building collapsed in another residential area in the Mediterranean city.

That block, which had had three extra floors added illegally, collapsed onto the wall of a neighbouring school as mothers were waiting to pick up their children.

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