Death toll up to six in Marseille building collapse

Authorities fear more people may be trapped under the rubble

Authorities fear more people may be trapped under the rubble

A third adjoining building partially collapsed on Monday night.

"It's hell here, they know that it's crap and now people die for nothing", said local resident Toufik Ben Rhouma.

Marseille Public prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux has confirmed the bodies of three men and two women have pulled from the rubble that is 15m deep in places.

One of the fallen buildings was boarded-up, but possibly used by squatters, CNN reported.

The news service reports that nine of that building's 10 units were occupied, with a shop filling the lower level.

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.

On Tuesday afternoon, some residents returned to their homes in neighbouring buildings to pack up belongings in bags and suitcases, some leaving carrying televisions with them, an AFP reporter said.

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 most important is saving lives", Castaner added from the scene. She told AFP that she had stayed with her parents the night before the collapse because numerous doors in the building would not close.

The neighbourhood is home to many buildings in a similarly poor condition, some of them run by slum landlords.

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.

Residents say they had warned the buildings were structurally unsound for years, but accused city authorities of doing little.

Djaffar Nour, who was shopping down the street, said the collapse had happened in "a matter of seconds".