The death toll from the collapse of three residential buildings in Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city, earlier this week has risen from four to eight, local officials said on Saturday, amid local outrage.
Another 17 people were still in hospital after having been rescued from the wreckage, according to the same officials, who were quoted by MAP news agency.
It was not clear if the latest fatalities were people who died in hospital, or were found in the rubble.
The three buildings, all of which were four to five stories tall and set closely together, collapsed before dawn on Friday in Casablanca’s working class El-Hank neighbourhood.
Although no cause for the incident was immediately given, angry residents in El-Hank told FRANCE 24 that many buildings in the neighbourhood, which was originally constructed during the 1960s and 1970s, are not in compliance with building codes.
Firemen have thus far rescued at least 55 people from the ruins, including six children, but another dozen residents are still unaccounted for.
King Mohamed VI, who happened to be in Casablanca on Friday, visited the scene of the accident and the injured in hospital.
A palace statement said local authorities had been instructed to find temporary accommodation for those affected.
It is not the first time that a building has collapsed in Casablanca, Morocco’s economic capital, in recent years. Two people died at the end of 2012 when a building came down after bad weather.
The housing minister said at the time that between 4,000 and 7,000 buildings in the city were at risk of collapse.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-07-12