Friday, 16 November, 2018

Three found dead in collapsed buildings in Marseille, search goes on

Authorities fear more people may be trapped under the rubble Image Authorities fear more people may be trapped under the rubble
Pablo Mccormick | 08 November, 2018, 17:07

The collapse has highlighted concerns over the condition of up to 6,000 buildings in Marseille, which have been estimated to be in similarly poor fix.

The death toll is likely to increase as between five and eight people are missing, French interior minister Christophe Castaner said.

Authorities said they were looking into what caused the collapse.

As many as eight people are feared dead in total after buildings collapsed suddenly on Monday morning in Noailles, a working-class district in the heart of the French port city of Marseille.

Firefighters in the southern French city of Marseille found the bodies of three people in the ruins of two collapsed buildings as the search for victims and survivors continued on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time).

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Residents said Tuesday the structural risks of the buildings and others like them were widely known, but that city officials did little when alerted about them.

Dozens of police officers and firefighters have been working overnight in a rescue effort since the buildings collapsed on Monday.

"We still have hope, even if that hope is fading".

The news service reports that nine of that building's 10 units were occupied, with a shop filling the lower level. The disaster, he added, was "100 percent the fault of city hall".

A young bar waiter, with tears in his eyes, watched the scene and anxious about an Italian woman who lived in the building. The others were so dilapidated they had been condemned and were boarded up, though locals said they were frequently used by squatters.

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"It could have been me", the 25-year-old philosophy student said, visibly shaken.

But the incident - rare in a major Western city - has already sparked a political row over the quality of housing available to Marseille's poorest residents.

But a 2015 government report said some 100,000 Marseille residents were living in housing that was unsafe to their health or security.

Djaffar Nour, who was shopping down the street, said the collapse had happened in "a matter of seconds".

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