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Page last updated at 08:52 GMT, Sunday, 7 September 2008 09:52 UK

Cairo rockslide search continues

A man combs through the rubble in Cairo
Many residents have been scrabbling at the rocks with their bare hands

Rescuers in Cairo are continuing their search for survivors after a rockslide crushed dozens of houses in Egypt's capital, killing at least 31 people.

Dozens of houses in a shanty town in the eastern Duwayqa area were hit by huge boulders and rocks on Saturday.

At least 40 people were injured and dozens are said to be still trapped in the rubble.

A six-storey building below the Muqattam hills had been completely reduced to rubble, residents said.

It was not clear what had triggered the rockfall but local residents were blaming construction work on the hill for causing the disaster.

'Horror'

At least eight boulders - each estimated to weigh about 70 tonnes - fell from the towering cliffs overlooking the district at about 0900 local time (0700 GMT), reports said.

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"The power went out, we heard a loud bang like an earthquake and I thought this house had collapsed. I went out, I saw the whole mountain had collapsed," said Hassan Ibrahim Hassan, 80, whose house escaped the destruction.

"It was horror," he said.

Witnesses described seeing hundreds of distraught people gathered around the site of the destruction, saying they had relatives and friends trapped under the rubble.

Some were scrabbling at the rocks with their bare hands.

Rescue teams were forced to wait for the arrival of cranes and heavy lifting equipment to allow them to move the huge rocks, but as night fell the help had not arrived.

A BBC correspondent says there have been previous landslides in the area.

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Aftermath of Cairo rockslide




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In pictures: Cairo rescue bid
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Deadly rockslide hits Cairo homes
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