Death toll from Egypt rockslide rises to 43
The death toll has gone up in the rockslide accident over the weekend in Egypt. The slide flattened homes in a north Cairo shantytown.
A total of 43 people were killed in a massive weekend rockslide in Egypt which flattened homes in a north Cairo shantytown, a security official said on Monday, more than 48 hours after the tragedy.
He said that 43 bodies had been recovered from under the boulders, while the official MENA news agency quoted the interior ministry as saying that 57 people had been injured.
Giant boulders crushed dozens of homes in the shantytown of Manshiyet Nasser in the early morning landslide on Saturday, burying whole families under the rubble.
Egypt's mufti -- the leader of its Sunni Muslim faithful -- Sheikh Ali Gomaa said that all who died were "martyrs," the independent daily Al-Masri Al-Youm reported.
Television reports suggested that as many as 500 people could be missing as rescuers continued in a desperate race to find survivors of the tragedy, which struck in the first week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Rescue efforts are proceeding slowly as authorities break the giant rocks into pieces small enough to be lifted from the area.
Most of the brick-built dwellings in the district have two floors and were put up without adhering to planning regulations and without construction permits.
Some survivors refused to go to tents put up by the authorities, insisting instead on being given proper new homes.
Others, such as 60 year old Abdallah Salem whose home was unscathed by the rockslide, feared further rocks tumbling down.
"We're afraid to sleep in our homes for fear that our fate might be the same as that of our neighbours," Salem told the independent Al-Badil newspaper.
The arid Moqattam hill is broken up by chalky rock slopes, and a number of unofficial housing areas are huddled at its base, along the length of a main road into the city.
Several rockslides have happened in the area previously, the most deadly of which killed 70 people in the adjacent Zabaleen area in 1993.
"The government knew that people could die and, in spite of that, it didn't take any action," resident Waheed Rabie told the state-owned Egyptian Gazette newspaper.
Egypt has a poor track record of building safety often blamed on the flouting of construction regulations, particularly involving adding extra floors without permission.
In December, 35 people died when a 12-storey apartment block in the northern city of Alexandria collapsed as restoration work was under way on the first floor.
Earlier 38 people were reported dead
A total of 38 people were killed in a massive weekend rockslide in Egypt which flattened homes in a north Cairo shantytown, according to the latest toll given by the health ministry on Monday.
"The number of victims has risen to 38 dead and 57 wounded," the ministry said in a statement carried by the official MENA news agency.
Giant boulders crushed dozens of homes in the shantytown of Manshiyet Nasser in Saturday's landslide, burying whole families under the rubble.
Television reports suggested that as many as 500 people could be missing as rescuers continued in a desperate race to find survivors of the tragedy, which occurred in the first week of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
After an emergency meeting Saturday, Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif said there would be a full review of housing settlements built throughout the country without construction permits, known as " ashwaeeyat ."