Historic downtown Cairo building collapse injures 5

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A policeman stands by the rubble at the scene of a building collapse along Kasr Al-Nile street in the Egyptian capital Cairo's downtown district, on August 15, 2020. (AFP)
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Rubble is strewn across the scene of a building collapse along Kasr Al-Nile street in the Egyptian capital Cairo's downtown district, on August 15, 2020. (AFP)
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Egyptian Red Crescent members gather at the scene of a building collapse along Kasr Al-Nile street in the capital Cairo's downtown district, on August 15, 2020. (AFP)
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An ambulance and firetruck are seen at the junction between the Egyptian capital Cairo's historic Mustafa Kamel square and Kasr Al-Nile street in the downtown district near the scene of a building collapse on August 15, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 15 August 2020

Historic downtown Cairo building collapse injures 5

  • An investigation has been launched to assess the cause of the sudden collapse of the heritage-listed building

CAIRO: A listed building in the center of Egypt’s capital partially collapsed injuring five people Saturday, in the latest such incident, a security source said.
Authorities who rushed to the building on Kasr Al-Nile street, near the iconic Tahrir Square, tended to 14 people including passersby and transported five to hospitals, the source said.
An investigation has been launched to assess the cause of the sudden collapse of the heritage-listed building, Cairo’s governorate said on its Facebook page.
It said the damaged four-story property housed several stores and two residential apartments.
An AFP reporter at the scene surrounded by rubble, full of ambulances and fire trucks, said “the building is gutted and barely holding up.”
Building collapses in Egypt occur frequently due to lax enforcement of construction and maintenance regulations as well as developers illegally adding floors to boost profits.
In July, a building in the upmarket Cairo suburb of Zamalek, close to embassies, showed deep cracks prompting authorities to evacuate residents fearing its collapse.
One of the worst such urban disasters struck in 2014 when a Cairo building caved in, killing 19 people.
Downtown Cairo boasts buildings that are nearly 200 years old, blending Islamic and European motifs, neo-classical columns and ornate decorations.
Many UNESCO-listed have fallen into disrepair and ruin in Egypt’s drive for urban renewal.


Egypt extends measures to boost country’s struggling tourism sector

Updated 27 min 52 sec ago

Egypt extends measures to boost country’s struggling tourism sector

  • The measures include the waiving of visa fees until April 30 next year for tourists visiting the governorates of South Sinai, the Red Sea, Luxor and Aswan
  • Businesses that operate within the tourism industry, including hotels, will not have to pay any fees or electricity, water and gas bills until Dec. 31 this year

CAIRO: The Egyptian government has extended the duration of a number of policies and incentives designed to boost the country’s struggling tourism sector, which has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The measures include the waiving of visa fees until April 30 next year for tourists visiting the governorates of South Sinai, the Red Sea, Luxor and Aswan.

Businesses that operate within the tourism industry, including hotels, will not have to pay any fees or electricity, water and gas bills until Dec. 31 this year. In addition, all debts owed by companies in the sector, including amounts accrued before the pandemic began, will be rescheduled, with no repayments due until Jan. 1.

A flight incentive program, which includes discounted airport fees for airlines, was extended until Dec. 31.

The government said that their decision to extend the measures beyond the previously announced end date of Oct. 31 is designed to support the winter tourism season, which runs from Nov. 1 until April 30.

The global tourism sector has been particularly badly affected by the effects of the pandemic. It is vital to the economies of many nations, including Egypt, but has effectively been closed down due to lockdowns and travel restrictions around the world.

Bassem Halqa, who represents workers in Egypt’s tourism industry, said that the decision to waive visa fees for some of the country’s most popular destinations is a very important step in efforts to encourage tourists to return, and will have a positive impact on sector.

However, he called for the initiative to be extended to cover additional destinations, such as Cairo, Alexandria and Giza. He also urged the government to allow public beaches and hotel gyms to reopen.