10 feared buried in Marseille building collapse

Cheryl Sanders
November 8, 2018

The two buildings, one vacant and the other housing apartments, collapsed on Monday morning.

City officials have evacuated more than 100 nearby buildings following the collapse, which authorities believe may have been caused by heavy rains, AFP reports.

In the place of a collapse of houses in the centre of Marseille, found the body of the deceased men, the search operation continues.

Christophe Castaner, Minister of the Interior, said: "There is very little chance of finding pockets of life [now]".

"Nearly 6,000 properties have been identified as at risk" in the city, he said, representing some 44,000 lodgings in lower-class neighbourhoods, calling the situation unacceptable.

"Everybody knew about the problems with the two collapsed buildings", said Patrick Lacoste, a spokesman for a local housing action group.

Google Maps images taken in recent months showed the two collapsed buildings had large visible cracks in their facades.

The two other apartment blocks, which were in such a bad state that they had been condemned, were boarded up and in theory unoccupied.

A young bar waiter, with tears in his eyes, watched the scene and anxious about an Italian woman who lived in the building.

Sophie Dorbeaux, a 25-year-old philosophy student, was one of them. "It could have been me", she said.

The collapse has highlighted concerns over the condition of up to 6,000 buildings in Marseille, which have been estimated to be in similarly poor fix.

"It could have been me", she added, visibly shaken.

Fire officials deliberately brought down most of a third building due to concerns the unstable structure might cave on top of search crews and sniffer dogs combing the rubble of the other buildings.

But a 2015 government report said about 100,000 Marseille residents were living in housing that was unsafe to their health or security.

Djaffar Nour, who was shopping down the street, said the collapse had happened in "a matter of seconds".

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