Last updated: 17 January, 2012

Beirut building collapse toll reaches 27

The death toll from the collapse of a six-storey building in the Lebanese capital rose to 27 people on Tuesday with 12 others injured, a Red Cross official said.

“We have recovered 27 bodies from the site. Rescue efforts have stopped under orders from the interior ministry,” Red Cross head of operations Georges Kettaneh told AFP.

Kettaneh could not confirm how many people were in the building before it collapsed Sunday night but said a dozen people had been injured.

Eight others had managed to escape before the building collapsed.

Among those killed are Lebanese — including a 15-year-old girl — Sudanese, Filipinos, Egyptians and a Jordanian family.

On Sunday, authorities said at least 26 people had died and that more bodies were still trapped under the rubble.

Civil defence chief General Raymond Khattar told AFP the building is believed to have housed some 50 people, many of them labourers from Sudan and Egypt.

Residents said the building was extremely run-down and the owner had warned tenants not to remain there shortly before it disintegrated.

There was speculation that heavy rain may have contributed to Sunday’s disaster, making the building more prone to collapse.

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel on Monday said the building’s owner had been detained for questioning and a probe was under way.

The government also announced it would grant compensation of 30 million Lebanese pounds ($20,000/15,750 euros) to the family of each victim as well as families who had been living in the collapsed building.