Saturday, September 06, 2008

Rockslide in Manshiyyet Nasser claims at least 103 lives

A rockslide in the shanty town of Manshiyyet Nasser at the foot of the Muqattam Hills, Cairo has taken at least 18 lives,and at least 22 injured. The death toll is expected to rise sharply.

UPDATE: At least 20 dead according to the BBC. Footage from the BBC Arabic can be found here.

UPDATE II: 1:00 PM Sep 7th - 31 bodies has been confirmed dead after being pulled from under the rubble according to Egyptian authorities and 46 people has been treated in hospitals so far.

UPDATE III: 48 hours after the rockslide the death toll has risen to 38 and 57 wounded according to Health Ministry figures released on Monday morning. Meanwhile this AFP news wire put the number of recovered bodies at 43, quoting an unnamed security official.

UPATE IV: By midday Monday(51 hours after the rocklside), a security official talking to the Associated Press claimed the number of recovered bodies to be 47, the number of injured is at 57. The BBC have the same number of recovered bodies. It seems the equipmment is finally in place, meaning that the work on recovering bodies is moving faster, which means that the death toll will probably climb faster all through Monday. I am not going to be able to blog more, until tonight, when i will try to update and also put this in perspective, but what is clear alraedy is that this is the worst disaster that the area of Manshiyyet Nasr has lived through since the 70´s , although the community has been tested time and time again.

UPDATE V: 16:45 - Reuters puts the death toll at 51.

UPDATE VI: 22:00 Tuesday September 9th(85 hours after the Rockslide)- According to Dr Adel Azouz, in charge of Cairo´s Emergency services, 54 bodies have now been recovered. 64 are counted as wounded, as well as 13 of the emergency workers that has been involved in the rescue effort.

During a tour of the area yesterday(Tuesday) by members of parliament and The Governor of Cairo, Abdel Azim Wazir , the Governor promised 2000 houses for those affected by the rockslide, the houses will be given to the families on Friday and a vision of 10 000 units more to help improve the communities was introduced, but this seems to part of the Suzanne Mubarak project in Manshiyyet Nasser. Some of the young men of Duweiqa greeted the V.I.P´s with rocks.

UPDATE VII: Abdel Rahman Hussein of Daily News Egypt puts the recovered bodies at 57, and injured at 70. Appearently the police dispearsed people organizing a vigil for the victims at Talat Harb on Monday night, sometimes you just dont have the right words to express what you feel, this could easily count as one of those rare moments...

UPDATE VIII: Muhammed Sultan, head of the Emergewncy services at the Ministry of Health states that the number of recovered bodies has reached 62.

UPDATE IX: Thursday September 11th - Egyptian authorities comfirm that 72 bodies have been removed from underneath the rubble. This makes it the worst catastrophe in terms of lost lives in the Manshiyyet Nasser area,in 1993, 70 people lost their lives in a similar way, in the nearby neighbourhood of the garbage collectors, Zabaleen.

UPDATE X: Saturday, September 13th - A week after the Rockslide in Duweiqa, 82 bodies have been recovered from underneath the rubble. according to a security official, speaking to the Agence France Presse(AFP). The rescue effort is likely to continue for at least another week according to the same source.

UPDATE XI: Saturday 20th - Two weeks after the rockslide in Duweiqa, 103 bodies have been recovered from underneath the rubble. The rescue effort continues. No one has been found alive from start of the rescue effort.


At approximately 9 AM local time on Saturday September 6th, a rockslide with eight rocks fell on houses in the area, reducing a six-storey house to rubble, in total approximately 35 houses are destroyed and under the rocks, some of them 30 m high and weighing between 60-70 tonnes.

The Civil Defence, police with sniffer dogs and people from one the leading construction companies Osman Ahmed Osman Construction are at the sight, but people are callinhg for more to be done and for a quicker response and the involvement of the Army in the rescue efforts. Most of the rescue efforts until now has been done by hand and by the relatives and neigbours themselves according to newsreports. Eyewitness claim that screams and mobile phones could be heard from people under the rubble.

The initial figures of dead and injured are expected to rise sharply. According to some estimates as many as 350-500 could still be under the rubble, if the death tool goes that high, then this could be the second largest accident in recent history, only topped by the Salam Boccacio 98 disaster in February 2006, claiming over 1000 lives. A train disaster in February 2002 claimed 361 lives.

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3:01 PM  

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