Up to eight feared dead in France after Marseille building collapse

Up to eight feared dead in France after Marseille building collapse

The buildings collapsed on Monday morning, and emergency services have been combing through the rubble.

Residents say they had warned the buildings were structurally unsound for years, but accused city authorities of doing little.

Of the three buildings that collapsed, two had already been condemned and were uninhabited, but questions are being asked about why the third had not yet been renovated, repaired, or evacuated.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said "air pockets" under the debris meant there's "hope to locate and find someone that can be saved".

"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.

Sabine Bernasconi, the local mayor for that part of Marseille, said one of the buildings was subject to an evacuation order, but could not say for sure that squatters were not using it.

Google Street View images from July show that building with boarded-up windows and damage to the facade.

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

Only one of the buildings, number 65, was occupied.

Sophie Dorbeaux meanwhile told AFP she had left the now-demolished block on Sunday night to stay with her parents because her door, like several others, was not opening or closing properly.

The collapse has provoked soul-searching and criticism about the parlous state of some housing in Marseille, France's second-largest city. "It could have been me", she said.

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

However, according to neighbors, it is at the time of the tragedy could be people, particularly the homeless.

Marseille authorities began a vast upgrade plan for the city centre in 2011. A 2015 report by the government found that 100,000 residents of Marseille "were living in housing that was risky to their health or security", according to AFP.

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