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Toll rises to 14 in Brazil building collapse

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Fourteen people have died in the partial collapse of an illegally occupied building in northeastern Brazil, the authorities said on Saturday, as they concluded a search for survivors.

Earlier, a toll of 11 dead was announced, but firefighters searching through the debris later found the bodies of a woman and two children following the collapse on Friday in Paulista, a city in the state of Pernambuco.

The dead included men, women and children, aged five to 45, according to a statement on Saturday from the Pernambuco civil defence services.

Three people – a 65-year-old woman and two adolescents – were rescued. The authorities provided no information on their condition.

The three-storey structure, which was attached to a larger housing complex, had been closed in 2010 due to a risk of collapse but had been illegally occupied since then, the authorities said.

In April, a building in similar condition collapsed in the city of Olinda, also in Pernambuco, leaving six people dead.

Building collapses in Brazil generally happen in poorer neighbourhoods where illegal construction is rampant.

In 2020, two irregularly constructed buildings in a poor neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro collapsed after days of intense rainfall. Twenty-four people died.

The collapsed building in the municipality of Paulista, northeastern state of Pernambuco in Brazil. PHOTO: AFP
Rescue teams search for victims. PHOTO: AFP