CAIRO (AP) — An eight-story apartment building collapsed in Egypt’s Mediterranean port city of Alexandria early on Wednesday, killing 14 people, police officials said.
Assistant Interior Minister Abdel-Aziz Tawfeeq said rescue teams were continuing to search for survivors under the rubble. Another eight people are injured, he added.
It was not immediately known what caused the collapse, but violations of building specifications have been blamed in the past for similar accidents. The governor of Alexandria, Mohammed Abbas Atta, told Egypt’s official news agency that the building was constructed without a permit.
Alexandria’s security chief Abdel-Mawgood Lutfi said the building was constructed five years ago and had 24 apartments.
That the building collapsed early in the day means that most tenants were home, a fact that could contribute to an even higher death toll. Police evacuated residents of two adjacent buildings out of concern that the collapse may have caused structural damage to them.
The collapse is likely to fuel a popular outcry against the administration of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, whose critics say he has failed to carry out reforms and overhaul the nation’s deteriorating public services.
It came one day after 19 police conscripts were killed when the last car of the train they were riding on jumped the tracks and smashed into another train. Two months ago, 50 children died when a train rammed into their school bus in southern Egypt. That tragedy also sparked a storm of criticism of Morsi, who took office in June.
The train wreck led to protests on Tuesday at train stations in Cairo, Alexandria and a third city in the Nile Delta. The demonstrators were protesting what they said was official negligence in maintaining and upgrading the country’s aging rail network.
Morsi’s government has blamed Tuesday’s train accident on what officials say is nearly 30 years of corruption and misrule under ousted president Hosni Mubarak.