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Istanbul building in spectacular collapse after heavy rains


Municipality officers stand by a four-storey apartment which collapsed following a landslide after heavy rain hit Istanbul’s Sutluce district on July 24, 2018. Residents were evacuated before the building collapsed. / AFP PHOTO / Demiroren News Agency / – / Turkey OUT

A four-storey residential building in central Istanbul on Tuesday collapsed into a cloud of dust in front of watching media, after several hours perching on a ledge following heavy rains that destroyed its foundation.

The building, in the Sutluce district of the Beyoglu neighbourhood, had been left stranded with several metres of its base poking over the edge after the overnight downpours washed away its base.

The image of the building seemingly defying gravity for two hours as it perched on the edge of the ground attracted camera crews, municipal workers and members of the security forces.

But as the pictures of the building were being shown live on Turkish television news channels, it suddenly shifted in the earth and teetered briefly before dramatically plunging onto the slope created by the mudslides.

Little was left of the building by the force of the impact other than bits of rubble and a cloud of dust. The building had already been evacuated and security forces had also cordoned off the area so no-one was hurt.

Reports said that the building fell into an empty area created by the planned construction of a hotel.

Beyoglu mayor Ahmet Misbah Demircan, who came to the scene, vowed that those residents affected would immediately receive new housing, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

He said the building dated back to 1994.

The incident was a new illustration of the parlous state of some of Istanbul’s residential buildings, many of which are at risks from earthquakes or even more minor shocks from nearby building works.

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