Thursday, December 04, 2014

Casablanca: Five houses collapse in the space of two hours

Following the torrential rainfall that caused fatalities in the last couple of weeks comes the news about house collapses. It is a familiar story at this time of year when with the onset of wet weather houses become unstable. Usually it is one or two that make the news, but on Tuesday night five houses collapsed in Casablanca within a matter of two hours

The five houses collapsed in the evening around 10pm. in the Arsat Ben Slama area of the Royal Avenue adjacent to the Grand Mosque Hassan II. According to news reports four 3 to 5 story houses have completely fallen in ruins, while the roof of a fifth fell, injuring a woman.

The occupants of a 3 story house felt the trembling of walls following the collapse of a roof. They were fortunately able to leave before the building collapsed. In a chain reaction, neighbouring houses followed a few moments later. Again, the occupants were able to get out before the fall of the houses.

After the collapse, civil defence, police and local authorities arrived on the scene to establish a security perimeter and avoid casualties. The injured woman was evacuated to Moulay Youssef hospital.

Rescue workers search the rubble of a House collapse in Fez in 2013

Residents in Fez are very aware of the dangers although few can afford the extensive renovation work required to make ancient houses stable. However, there is a community organisation that assists the victims. The voluntary organisation "Association Secouristes Volontaires de Proximité" so far have three groups in the Medina at Bab El-Guissa, Batha and R'Cif.

The initiative, a joint venture between the local community associations in the Medina, the Fez Municipality, ADER (the Agency for the Dedensification and Rehabilitation of the Fes Medina), the Department of Civil Protection and the Swiss Direction de Developement et Cooperation, also run training in disaster relief, first aid and other courses, for people in local communities.

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