Mona El-Nahhas , Tuesday 18 Jul 2023

Collapse of a five-storey building in Hadayek Al-Kobba district north of Cairo.
Collapse of a five-storey building in Hadayek Al-Kobba district north of Cairo.


Buildings collapsing

THIRTEEN people were killed and five injured on Monday following the collapse of a five-storey building in Hadayek Al-Kobba district north of Cairo. 

As of writing, rescue efforts were in progress to locate survivors trapped in the debris. The injured have been taken to hospital for treatment. According to press reports, local authorities evacuated a neighbouring building to assess possible damages.

Investigations are being conducted to determine the cause of the incident. An initial inspection revealed that the collapse was caused by a ground floor resident who tore down several walls during maintenance work. The resident was detained. The Ministry of Social Solidarity announced allocating LE60,000 to every family of those killed, and is providing aid to the injured. 

Building collapses in Egypt are usually due to building code violations. The Hadayek Al-Kobba collapse was the third in a week. Five people were killed and 11 others injured on Saturday and Sunday in two building collapses in Alexandria and Beheira governorates. Last month, a 13-storey apartment block collapsed in Alexandria, killing at least 10 people.


Emissions reduction call

A UN ENVOY has called for urgent action to reduce emissions and get mitigation efforts back on track. Mahmoud Mohieddin, UN climate change high-level champion for Egypt and UN special envoy on Financing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, said that current efforts to mitigate emissions fall short of the target set for 2030 by around 60 per cent and highlighted that reducing dependence on fossil fuels and methane while increasing investment in renewable and related infrastructure and technology is essential to achieving the goals. 

Speaking at the Green Society Forum on Sunday, Mohieddin emphasised the need for massive financing, cooperation in technological fields, stronger domestic action and the updating of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to achieve climate action. He also discussed the importance of tracking and monitoring updates in the energy sector through reports issued by relevant international organisations. Mohieddin also called for the need to reduce dependence on dirty energy in various sectors. He highlighted the significant contributions made by COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh to climate action related to adaptation by launching the Sharm El-Sheikh adaptation agenda aimed at achieving resilience for the most affected communities. 

He pointed out the need to increase private sector participation in financing and implementing adaptation activities. 


BBC staff on strike

STAFF at the BBC office in Egypt started a three-day strike on Monday to protest against unfair pay and deteriorating living conditions, according to a joint statement by the staff in Cairo. 

The staff vowed to escalate measures as long as management continues to disregard their demands. “We have repeatedly asked the managers to review our salaries in light of the sharp devaluation of the local currency since March 2022,” the statement said. 

Management in London initially ignored the demands, then offered small “increases that never matched or made up for the severe losses the staff endured,” the statement added. 

The BBC had resolved similar crises in other bureaus in the region, the Cairo office staff said, adding that this deepened their sense of discrimination. 

Egypt’s Press Syndicate Chairman Khaled Al-Balshi declared his solidarity with the Cairo staff, accusing the BBC management of procrastination and insistence on discriminatory behaviour.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 20 July, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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