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Up to eight feared dead in Marseille building collapse

Up to eight feared dead in Marseille building collapse”

Two buildings containing apartments at numbers 63 and 65 Rue de l'Aubagne suddenly collapsed in the rundown Noailles district of the Mediterranean port on Monday morning.

Prosecutors said the bodies of a man and woman were found separately Tuesday under the 15-metre (50-foot) pile of rubble on Rue d'Aubagne, a narrow shopping street which now resembles the scene of an natural disaster.

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

Authorities said they were looking into what caused the collapse of the buildings, described by residents of the area as dilapidated and in need of fix.

Rescue work has been hampered by heavy rain, and evidence suggests the collapse has destabilised neighbouring buildings. Eight hours later, another neighboring building collapsed.

Two buildings, standing five and six storeys, collapsed on Monday morning in Marseille.

Residents accompanied by police and firefighters recover their belongings from the collapsed buildings. Authorities said the vacant building had been deemed substandard.

Images of the buildings before they collapsed, visible on Google Street View, showed that one of the buildings was clearly in poor fix, with boarded-up windows and large visible cracks on the facade before it collapsed.

"It's been 10 years that I've been living here and I've never had anyone come and inspect my apartment", another local resident called Sophie told AFP.

Only one of the buildings was occupied, as the two others were in such a bad state that they had been condemned.

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

Mr Tarabeux said: "It is very, very likely to be five people".

But the incident - rare in a major Western city - has already sparked a political row over the quality of housing available to Marseille's poorest residents.

Marseille authorities began a vast upgrade plan for the city centre in 2011.

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



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