AMMAN: Rescue teams in the Jordanian capital Amman recovered the body of a woman from under the rubble of a collapsed building, raising the death toll from the incident on Tuesday to 14, according to local authorities.
The Public Security Department announced on Saturday the end of the search and rescue operation at the site, amid information that the woman whose body was recovered earlier this morning was the last on the list of missing people.
At least 25 people were thought to have been in the building when it collapsed, the government said.
The four-story residential building in Amman’s El-Luweibdeh neighborhood crumbled on Tuesday, killing 14 people and injuring 10 others, PSD said.
At least 350 civil defense rescuers had been working on removing concrete slabs and lifting debris in search of survivors, according to Civil Defense Chief Hatem Jaber, who described the effort as a “relentless operation that lasted for 85 hours.”
The Amman prosecutor general opened an investigation into the incident and ordered the detention of the owner of the building, as well as maintenance and technical contractors.
Residents of the property said that its owner had been carrying out construction work on the ground floor, which had weakened the support structure and caused cracks to appear inside apartments.
A resident of the building, who was on the street outside washing his car when the building collapsed, told government-owned Al-Mamlakah TV that “just one day” before the disaster, he had warned the building’s owner that the construction work was damaging his apartment on the first floor.
In sarcasm mixed with grief, the survivor said: “He (the building’s owner) told me that he would finish tomorrow and tomorrow he really finished us all.”
The Greater Amman Municipality said that the building was almost 50 years old.
Although the municipality had been criticized for allagedly ignoring safety concerns around older buildings, GAM said that it was not to blame for the collapse, which was the result of “irresponsible construction inside the property.”
Following his return from France last Wednesday, Jordan’s King Abdullah chaired a meeting at the National Center for Security and Crisis Management to keep abreast of the situation.
The king urged that all those affected by the collapse of the residential building be provided with the necessary medical care and support.
He also called for greater awareness of how to safely manage older buildings.
Hours before Jordanian rescue teams were approaching the end of their mission, criticism erupted on social media after a concert was held at the Roman Amphitheater, a venue that is relatively close to the site of the collapsed building.
Users on social media argued that it was inappropriate to hold a concert while the search for the missing was still ongoing.
The Jordanian government denied in statements to Al Arabiya that it had any connection to the concert, saying the event was organized by a private company. It also noted that Amman’s Municipality had nothing to do with the concert.