Nine dead, 10 injured in Luweibdeh building collapse

Efforts underway to reach trapped victims

Teams from the Civil Defense department. carry out rescue operations at the site of the collapsed building on September 13, 2022. More than 350 personnel are involved in the operation, which could last for a few more days. (Photos: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Public Security Directorate (PSD) has referred the case of the four-story residential building collapse in the capital’s Luweibdeh neighborhood to the Amman Public Prosecutor, who launched an investigation into the deadly incident.اضافة اعلان

In an interview with the Jordan News Agency, Petra, on Wednesday, Public Prosecutor Hassan Abdallat said the judiciary began hearing witnesses to identify legal and criminal responsibility, adding that investigations are still ongoing. He added that an investigation was underway to establish criminal liability in the incident.

Later, Petra reported that the Amman Public Prosecutor had begun hearing witness accounts of the Tuesday building collapse and by the afternoon he decided to arrest three people in the case.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the death toll from the collapse reached nine people while 10 others have been injured, while rescue teams continue to search the rubble for survivors. In order to protect the residents, an evacuation of adjacent buildings was ordered by a public safety committee that was established yesterday evening.

Four premises surrounding the four-story building that collapsed were evacuated, and residents were moved to a safer place, according to an official in the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM).

Building is 50 years old
GAM’s Deputy for Regions and Environment Sector Hussam Najdawi told the agency on Wednesday that the collapsed building is 50 years old, adding that the municipality did not receive any reports of cracks in the structure from the owner or residents.

He said a public safety committee, formed on Tuesday and headed by the mayor, has made a few decisions to avoid further risks to people living in adjoining buildings.

Najdawi, confirmed to news agencies that GAM is awaiting the final reports of the civil defense, technical committees, and criminal investigation to determine the reasons for the collapse of the Luweibdeh building and take the necessary measures.

Najdawi added that any maintenance work inside buildings that requires the removal of facades must obtain a permit, and that an engineering office be assigned to supervise it, and conduct a study on the building’s defects and weaknesses.

He said that the municipality has a database of all buildings in Amman, noting that the areas of Jabal Al-Joufa, Jabal Al-Taj, Hay Nazzal, and some refugee camps have buildings that are more than 48 years old.

Najdawi indicated that the age of the building that collapsed had obtained a building license in 1956, stressing that the municipality will take measures regarding the old buildings in cooperation with the Engineers Syndicate, the Ministry of Public Works, the National Building Council, and the Supreme Council for Building.

Meanwhile, the Director of Civil Defense, Brigadier General Hatem Jaber, said on Wednesday that there were indications that people were still trapped under the rubble at the site of the collapse of the building.

In an interview with Public Security Radio, Jaber said that the rescue cadres will not rest until after the last person is removed from under the rubble of the collapsed building. He later told news outlets that there is no accurate number of those who remain trapped.

“We relied on manpower due to the lack of any outlets for heavy machinery because of the difficulty of the place and we had to rely on manual equipment,” he said.

Jaber indicated that the size of the manpower that participated in the rescue operation since Tuesday afternoon and until now is equivalent to 350 officers and personnel specialized in rescue operations.

Rescue teams managed to free a survivor from under the rubble, according to the media spokesman for the Public Security Directorate, Col. Amer Al-Sartawi.

Sartawi said that the rescue team was able to get a person—in his fifties—surviving under the rubble of the Luweibdeh building.

He added that the rescue team made intensive efforts to free the ninth victim, which lasted for 20 hours.

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