After the collapse of several houses in the center of Marseilles, rescue workers have recovered two bodies. The search for survivors continues. However, the authorities expect up to eight dead.
One day after the collapse of dilapidated residential buildings in Marseille, rescue workers have found the bodies of two people. This is a woman and a man, as the news agency AFP reported on Tuesday, citing the prosecutor. The French government claims "five to eight victims," as Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said during a visit to the country.
In the morning, 80 firefighters and 120 police with search dogs were at the disaster site near the Old Port of Marseille in action and cleared away the rubble.
Two houses collapsed yesterday in the center of the southern French port city. One of them was empty because it was dilapidated. The other building, which was also under construction, was inhabited. Rescue workers had searched for victims all night.
Nine out of twelve apartments inhabited
Castaner had said yesterday that he was "little optimistic" that survivors would be found, as there was little chance of voids in the rubble. The accident caused great consternation. France's head of state, Emmanuel Macron, assured the people concerned yesterday of the "solidarity of the entire nation".
Among the missing persons, according to Regional President Renaud Muselier, is a woman who had not picked up her daughter from school and another woman "who never left home".
Nine out of twelve apartments were inhabited in one of the two houses. According to the authorities, at least ten people lived there.
"It is the houses of the poor that are falling down"
In the evening, a third building collapsed partially. The fire department had decided to use an excavator – thereby the wall of the third house collapsed, which was uninhabited and locked since 2012. The rubble of this building, according to Interior Minister Castaner, crushed the debris of the first two collapsed houses.
In Marseille's city center are magnificent townhouses, futuristic new buildings, but also many rundown old buildings. Several opposition representatives complained about the city's housing policy. "It is the homes of the poor that are collapsing – and this is no coincidence," said the leading left-wing politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon, according to several media. Mélenchon has his constituency in Marseilles.