Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Up to eight feared dead after buildings collapse in Marseille

French rescuers find body in ruins of collapsed buildings Rescuers find second body in rubble of collapsed Marseille buildings
Deanna Wagner | 08 November, 2018, 17:10

French officials vowed to inspect all Marseille buildings "unsuitable" for habitation as anger rose over the collapse of two buildings in the Mediterranean city, where up to eight people are feared dead.

The two buildings, one vacant and the other housing apartments, collapsed Monday morning.

Authorities said they were looking into what caused the collapse of the buildings, described by residents of the area as dilapidated and in need of fix.

Sniffer dogs were still searching through the 15-metre (50-foot) pile of wreckage on Rue d'Aubagne, a narrow shopping street which now resembles the scene of an quake.

A completely flattened auto was dug out, an indication of the force with which the building came crashing down in what witnesses said was a matter of seconds. The others were so dilapidated they had been condemned and were boarded up, though locals said they were frequently used by squatters.

Castaner said inspectors had visited number 65 on October 18, and were concerned but did not see cause to evacuate. She told AFP that she had stayed with her parents the night before the collapse because numerous doors in the building would not close.

The first victim - a man - was pulled from the wreckage earlier on Tuesday, prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said, adding that he needed to be identified. Firefighters are continuing to search for survivors and hope air pockets will keep them alive as they dig.

People had been living in nine of the 10 apartments at number 65, while a shop occupied the ground floor.

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"The most important is saving lives", Castaner added from the scene.

"I haven't had any news", he said, wandering among the rescuers.

We will remind, the incident occurred on the morning of November 5, Aubagne street in the Central part of Marseille.

The neighbourhood is home to many buildings in a similarly poor condition, some of them run by slum landlords.

Marseille authorities began a vast upgrade plan for the city centre in 2011.

Leading left-wing politician Jean-Luc Melonchon, who visited the scene Monday, had reportedly been critical of the city's housing policy.

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