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Beirut rescue operation at collapsed building ends - BBC News

Written By Ivan Kolev on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 | 6:52 PM

Workers remove rubble at the site of a collapsed building in Beirut, Lebanon, on 16 January 2012

Tenants of the "run-down" building had reportedly been urged to move out, before the collapse happened The rescue operation at a collapsed building in the Lebanese capital Beirut has been called off after the authorities ruled out the possibility of finding more survivors.

The five-floor building in the Ashrafiyeh district of Beirut suddenly collapsed on Sunday evening killing 27 people.

Eleven Lebanese and 16 foreign workers were killed.

The victims came from Sudan, the Philippines, Egypt and Jordan.

It is not yet known what caused the sudden collapse, but there is speculation that cracks in the building made worse by heavy rain may have been the cause.

'Danger ahead'

Lebanese rescue workers remove a body from the site of a collapsed building in Beirut, Lebanon, on 16 January 2012

12 people were injured in the collapse, none of them seriously

There are growing calls for the government to carry out surveys of similar buildings across the country, as officials warn that many more are at risk of collapse.

The head of parliament's public works committee, MP Mohammed Qabbani, said that as many as 20,000 buildings could face a similar fate.

Red Cross official Georges Kettaneh confirmed 12 people had been injured, although none of them seriously.

One witness told a local television channel that "it was like an earthquake" when the block collapsed.

A resident who escaped with her mother said the building was extremely run-down and the owner had recently warned tenants to move out, AFP reported.

Lebanese President Michel Sleiman visited the site on Sunday evening, as did Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.

Mr Charbel told reporters the building's owner was being questioned by the authorities.

He added it was essential to carry out a survey of similar buildings across the country, many of which were built illegally or had several floors added without proper permits.

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