Residents of Alexandria, Egypt's Azarita district were ordered to evacuate their houses urgently after a tower in the street started leaning dangerously over to one side last Thursday, according to Ruptly TV.
Eyewitness Hussein Hassan said that the tower started to crack at around 8p.m. and fully tilted by 2:30 in the morning. (Translation from Arabic): "They used loudspeakers to urge us to come out because it was very dangerous. It's the fault of the municipality and officials in Alexandria because some were bribed to allow the construction of this building despite a complete failure to adhere to safety standards. Officials were aware of the huge problem but they stood still, and now we are in the street."
The leaning building was built in 2002, originally constructed to be just four floors and in 2004 authorities ordered the apartment building removed due to foundation flaws, but demolition wasn't done and residents continued to live in at their own risk. Later the owner, Mervat Awad Nasr, added nine additional floors without permission. Neighbors reported the building began to tilt over a year ago.
On Sunday, Egypt's military division and the Arab Contractors Company removed the top three floors while residents watched. The military supervised the return of residents' property to ensure nothing was stolen from the building. Residents were offered other housing.
Ali Morsy, head of central Alexandria district, said that all buildings in the district are licensed for specific number of floors, but building owners often illegally add extra floors. Thousands of houses have reportedly been illegally built across the country in the years after the 2011 uprising that was followed by security breakdown and political unrest. Building collapses are not uncommon in Egypt due to poor construction materials, illegal addition of extra floors and lax government oversight.
Police arrested owner Mervat Awad Nasr on Saturday, 3 June and he will be referred for prosecution.
Video, image courtesy of Ruptly TV
Source: Ruptly TV