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Jordan: Five dead and more trapped under rubble as building collapses in Amman

Two children and university student are among those who died, as government blames 'old and dilapidated' structure
Civil defence members work at the site of a four-story residential building collapse in Amman, Jordan on 13 September 2022 (Reuters)
By Mohammad Ersan in Amman

At least five people have died and ten others are still trapped after a building in Jordan’s capital Amman collapsed on Tuesday. 

The four-storey residential structure in central Amman's popular Jabal al-Weibdeh district fell down, with civil defence rescuers working through the night searching for survivors.

"There are at least 10 people under the rubble... there are signs of life," government spokesperson Faisal Shboul said during a visit to the site.

Among those who died were two sisters, aged eight and 11, eyewitnesses told Middle East Eye. 

'The ground started cracking from under us, before the side walls collapsed'

Nisreen Barakat, survivor

Rama al-Ajarmeh, a 21-year-old student at the University of Jordan, also died. Staff and students at the university mourned her death on Wednesday. 

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Nisreen Barakat, a survivor who lives on the ground floor, said she was in her house with her two children during the collapse. 

“The ground started cracking from under us, before the side walls collapsed,” she told MEE.

Barakat said she managed to get one of her sons out to tell his father that they were still alive. Local residents then rescued her and her other child, moments before civil defence rescuers arrived. 

Third grade books, toys and children's clothes were clearly identifiable amid the rubble.

“The situation is bad. Families are now homeless. We have no idea how we’re going to cope with this. No official has spoken to us yet or checked on the people in the hospital,” a brother of one of the survivors said on Tuesday night.

The collapse was due to the building being “old and dilapidated,” deputy prime minister Taoufik Krichane said.

However, a number of people at the scene told MEE that the structures of old buildings in the area are not being inspected before new buildings are constructed nearby, despite repeated requests by residents over the years. 

“Al-Weibdeh is full of old buildings, so new buildings should not be allowed in this neighbourhood. They are impacting the structures of old buildings, and this is why this building collapsed,” one woman told MEE. 

Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh has ordered an investigation into the incident. 

Al-Weibdeh is one of Amman’s oldest neighbourhoods, popular among tourists and locals for its thriving art and culture scene. 

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