Published: Dec 13, 2010 23:11 Updated: Dec 13, 2010 23:11
CAIRO: Rain and sandstorms that battered Egypt at the weekend killed at least 34 people, officials said Monday, adding the toll could rise as rescue workers were still sifting through two collapsed buildings.
The bodies of 13 workers were pulled out on Monday of the debris of a six-story textile factory that crumbled under heavy rains the previous day in the northern port city of Alexandria, the officials said.
A security official said rescue teams continued their search for at least 15 more workers believed to be trapped in the rubble of the factory. Nine people were rescued alive, suffering from broken bones.
In the Nile Delta city of Tanta, a child was killed and nine people hurt when a five-story residential building came down on Sunday, leaving one person trapped under the rubble.
Building collapses are relatively frequent in Egypt where construction guidelines are flouted and extra floors are often added to buildings without permission.
Twenty people were killed and more than 40 injured in road accidents Sunday across Egypt blamed on poor visibility from heavy rains and sandstorms, officials said.
Sandstorms, rain and wind have battered swathes of the country in past days, with northern areas among the worst hit. At least 10 ports on the Red Sea and Mediterranean were shut due to the storms.
Port authorities decided on Monday to reopen eight ports on the Red Sea after relative improvement in weather conditions, Salah Hesham of the Red Sea Port Authority said.
Meanwhile, a tug boat was trying to pull to safety on Monday an Italian cargo ship stranded off Egypt’s northwestern coast with 21 crew on board and 38 containers of toxic paint and resins, Italian news agency Ansa reported. The ship had broken down three days earlier off the coast of Marsa Matruh.
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