For 21 days this June, the Egyptian town of Alexandria had its own leaning tower.
Appropriately dubbed the “leaning tower of Alexandria,” the high-rise fell and crashed against a row of apartments on the opposite side of a narrow street on July 1. The tenants evacuated immediately, and the building’s electricity and gas were cut. There were no reports of injuries.
After leaning for three weeks, the building was demolished by a team of army-led engineer, according to The Guardian. The structure became unstable when an older, neighbouring building — which was several stories higher than its permit allowed — collapsed. Without the other building’s support, the residential tower started to lean until it fell into the housing block across the street.
The tower has become a symbol of the growing corruption and legal loopholes in the construction industry in Egypt, where over 390 residential buildings collapse each year. The Egyptian research group Built Environment Observatory estimates that approximately 200 people die and over 800 families are made homeless from these building collapses annually.
In 2013, 24 people died and 11 others were injured when another residential building buckled in eastern Alexandria. And in October 2016, a condo building in the area was evacuated after reports of structural damage, including cracks and crumbling of some bricks. At the time, city officials said 180 condos in Alexandria have structural damage, 32 of which suffer from severe issues.
According to The Guardian, construction laws have become more lax in Alexandria in recent years. The demand for housing in Egypt has also skyrocketed, which could make renters more likely to compromise their safety for the sake of housing.
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