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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 December 2007, 11:49 GMT
Rescuers hunt for Egypt survivors
Collapsed building, Alexandria
Building collapses happen frequently in Egypt's cities
Rescuers in Egypt are still looking for survivors in the rubble of a block of flats that collapsed in Alexandria on Monday, killing at least 20.

Only three people have been pulled out alive from a building said to house about 30 in the suburb of Loran.

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

An investigation has started into the cause of the collapse.

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.

Prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for the building's owners.

Listing

Emergency workers continued their search of the site on Wednesday with heavy equipment and sniffer dogs.

Egypt map

Rescue official Maj Gen Abdel-Meguid Selim told Associated Press news agency: "We are in a race against time. We hope to get as many victims alive as possible."

Alexandria Governor Adel Labib said renovation work was being undertaken on the first floor of the block when the building started listing and collapsed.

Among those brought out of the rubble on Tuesday was a four-year-old girl.

Another was a 24-year-old woman, described as "in good condition".

"She can move and speak, and is now undergoing X-rays on different parts of her body," official Mena news agency quoted Alexandria hospital doctor Mahmud al-Damati as saying.

In 2005, at least 16 people died when a building collapsed in another residential area in the Mediterranean city - Egypt's second largest.

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.

SEE ALSO
Block of flats collapses in Egypt
24 Dec 07 |  Middle East



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