Monday, 14 July 2014

23 killed in Casablanca buildings collapse

The death toll after three buildings collapsed in Morocco's largest city and commercial capital Casablanca has risen to 23.

Fifteen bodies were recovered from the rubble in one day on Sunday, including two children and Moroccan actress Amal Maarouf and her mother, local authorities said.

News website Yibiladi said the actress had continued to respond to calls on her mobile phone for several hours after the calamity but did not elaborate.

Medics said earlier on Sunday that 17 people were still being treated in hospital, while authorities warned of more buried bodies.

Rescue operations were temporarily suspended on Sunday afternoon as emergency teams sought more sophisticated equipment, sparking anger from relatives of the missing.

By evening the site had been cordoned off and the media barred, drawing criticism.

"Search for bodies suspended, equipment deficient. Three days to notice it," the Economist newspaper scoffed in a post on its Internet site.

It was still not known why the three apartment blocks in El-Hank district collapsed on Friday.

Residents told AFP the accident probably resulted from "haphazard works" on the lower floors of the buildings, as well as a general lack of maintenance.

Casablanca has a population of around five million, with many living in squalid conditions in sprawling slums, some exposed to serious safety hazards.

Monday 14 July 2014


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