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The death toll from the landslide in a densely populated Cairo
The death toll from the landslide in a densely populated Cairo shanty town has reached 101, with dozens of people still buried beneath the debris, the al-Masry al-Youm newspaper said Friday.

Early in the morning of September 6, hundreds of tons of rock tumbled down Muqattam hill onto one of Cairo's poorest and most densely populated areas, trapping more than 500 people. The rescue effort began only 24 hours after the tragedy because heavy-lifting machinery was unable to reach the disaster zone.

Sniffer dogs signal there are still dozens of bodies beneath the 15-meter-deep layer of rocks. It will take at least two months to recover all bodies.

A survey, carried out by a group of geologists, says a new catastrophe could occur at any time.

It is still unclear how many dwellings were built in the disaster area, as the slum was put up without official permission. The Egyptian authorities have requested the United States provide them with satellite maps of the shanty town to aid the search effort.

Cairo's governor, Abdel Azim Wazir, said some 2,000 homes would be made available for shanty town residents who lost their homes, as per President Hosni Mubarak's instructions. The displaced people are currently staying in tent camps.

Preliminary reports said the rocks could have been dislodged by leaks from an improvised sewage system that gradually eroded parts of the limestone mountain. Another theory contends the disaster was caused by construction work on top of Muqattam.


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