Jordanian rescuers recover 10th body from rubble of collapsed apartment block

AMMAN: The death toll from the building collapse in Jordan’s capital Amman rose to 10 on Thursday after rescue teams recovered another body from the rubble.

The discovery was made as the search continues for survivors of the accident, the Public Security Department said. As well as the fatalities, 10 people were injured in the collapse.

Following his return from France on Wednesday, Jordan’s King Abdullah chaired a meeting at the National Center for Security and Crisis Management to keep abreast of the situation, the royal court said in a statement.

He urged that all those affected by the collapse of the residential building in Amman’s El-Luweibdeh neighborhood be provided with all necessary medical care and support, it said.

He also called for greater awareness of how to deal with old buildings, it added.

On a visit to the PSD on Thursday, the king praised the professionalism of the civil defense teams and stressed the need for more training and specialized equipment to deal with similar tragedies in the future, according to a separate statement from the royal court.

On Wednesday, Civil Defense Chief Hatem Jaber said that search and rescue operations would continue until all those believed to have been trapped were pulled out.

At least 25 people are thought to have been in the building when it collapsed on Tuesday. About 300 civil defense personnel are involved in the search and rescue mission.

Among those rescued so far are a five-month-old baby girl named Malak and a man in his 50s. The infant is currently being treated at the Luzmila Hospital in El-Luweibdeh, and is said to be in a fair condition.

Hussam Najdawi from the Greater Amman Municipality said the building that collapsed was nearly 50 years old, adding that the residents of four neighboring buildings had been evacuated as a safety precaution.

Technical teams from the municipality would assess the condition of several other old buildings in El-Luweibdeh, Najdawi said.

Although the GAM has been criticized for not taking care of old buildings it said it was not to blame for the collapse, which was the result of “irresponsible construction inside the property.”

GAM spokesperson Nasser Rahamneh told the government-owned Al-Mamlakah TV that the municipality’s job was organizational rather than technical.

The Jordanian Engineers Association said earlier it warned the GAM in 2017 about the deteriorating condition of several old buildings in Amman and called for urgent action to prevent them from collapsing.

Residents of the property that fell said its owner had been carrying out construction work on the ground floor which had weakened the support structure and caused cracks to appear in their apartments.

Local people told Arab News previously that developers had been building large residential units for foreign expatriates without “paying attention to the fact that the neighboring houses are very old and very fragile.”

El-Luweibdeh is a preferred neighborhood for expatriates in Jordan.

Following the collapse, the Amman prosecutor general opened an investigation into the incident and ordered the detention of the owner of the building, as well as its maintenance and technical contractors.


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