Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz has ordered an immediate investigation into the collapse of a building being used as a hostel in Makkah, killing 20 and injuring 59 so far, said official Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki today.
In a joint press conference with senior government officials, Al-Turki said that the 20 victims of the collapse include 11 men, eight women and one unidentified person. The 59 injured include 41 men and 18 women, and the nationalities of all but one of the victims have been determined, he said.
Al-Turki said he could not confirm how many of the hostel’s residents were inside when the building collapsed. Because the collapse occurred shortly after the completion of the noon prayer, there is a possibility that the death toll includes passers-by and not just residents of the building, he said. Rescue operations remain ongoing.
Regarding the cause of the collapse, Al-Turki said it is important to refrain from speculation and wait until the investigation is complete before drawing any conclusions. He also said that the results of the investigation will be taken into consideration when licensing buildings for pilgrim use in the future.
Dr. Mohammed Haddad, consultant at the Ministry of Hajj, said that the Hajj Housing Committee inspects older buildings used for pilgrims every year and new buildings every two years.