Up to eight feared dead after buildings collapse in Marseille

French rescuers find body in ruins of collapsed buildings

Rescue teams are searching for survivors amid rubble after two buildings collapsed in Marseille, France, on Monday morning.

Two buildings containing apartments at numbers 63 and 65 Rue de l'Aubagne suddenly collapsed in the rundown Noailles district of the Mediterranean port on Monday morning.

Image of buildings on Google Street View before they collapsed, showed that one had five stories and the other six.

As the political row grew, the interior minister, Christophe Castaner, announced he had ordered a building-by-building audit in Marseilles before launching what he called an "ambitious programme" to ensure safer conditions.

"People died for nothing, even though we knew".

Images of the buildings before they collapsed, visible on Google Street View, showed that one of the buildings was clearly in poor fix, with boarded-up windows and large visible cracks on the facade before it collapsed.

The dead include two women and three men, prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux told AFP.

A young bar waiter watched the scene with tears in his eyes, anxious for news of an Italian woman who lived in the building. "It could have been me", she said.

"The walls had been moving for several weeks and cracks had appeared", the 25-year-old philosophy student said. One house had 5 floors, the other 6.

"It could have been me", she added, visibly shaken.

The collapse has highlighted concerns over the condition of up to 6,000 buildings in Marseille, which have been estimated to be in similarly poor fix.

Marseille authorities launched a vast upgrade plan for the city centre in 2011. A 2015 report by the government found that 100,000 residents of Marseille "were living in housing that was unsafe to their health or security", according to AFP.

"It's unthinkable that such things happen in our time", said Christian Gouverneur, who owns a flat across the road from the disaster site.

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