Apartment block collapses in Egypt, at least 22 killed

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:23pm IST

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ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Reuters) - At least 22 people were killed in Egypt on Wednesday when an apartment block collapsed in Alexandria, the state news agency reported.

The eight-storey building in a working class district of the Mediterranean city caved in just before 7 a.m. (0500 GMT). Residents said the building was home to more than 30 people.

Rescue workers used mechanical diggers and their bare hands to search through the rubble. Building collapses are common in Egypt because of lax building standards and poor maintenance.

Housing Minister Tarek Wafik said the building had been put up in 2006 without a licence. He added that 318,000 buildings had been erected without official permission since 2009, when the rate of illegal construction accelerated.

(Reporting by Abdel Rahman Youssef; Writing by Tom Perry in Cairo; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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