When the 13-storey tower block toppled it exposed the problems at the heart of Egypt’s construction industry, a country where 400 residential buildings collapse each year

Pensioner Madiha Abdel Alim was heading home to her flat in Alexandria when she looked up and noticed something strange: the 13-storey block in which she lived was suddenly tilting precariously over the narrow road.

Concerned, she immediately contacted the local authorities. “They did nothing,” says Alim. “They said, ‘oh, that’s normal. It’s a very tall building’.” Three days later, the tower toppled and crashed into the building across the road.

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