Rescuers find second body in rubble of collapsed Marseille buildings

Two buildings collapsed

Two buildings collapsed

The first victim - a man - was pulled from the wreckage earlier on Tuesday, prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said, adding that he needed to be identified.

Another two people who were believed to be on the street at the time of the building collapse are also missing, said Renaud Muselier, president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.

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.

Rescuers worked throughout the night looking for victims in the rubble of two buildings which collapsed suddenly on Monday morning in Noailles, a working-class district in the heart of the Mediterranean port city.

The others were so dilapidated they had been condemned and were boarded up, though locals said they were frequently used by squatters.

"Everybody knew about the problems", said Patrick Lacoste, a spokesman for a local housing action group.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told lawmakers in Paris that he had ordered a building by building audit before an "ambitious programme for ensuring safe conditions" along with Marseille authorities.

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"We still have hope, even if that hope is fading".

"Nearly 6,000 properties have been identified as at risk" in the city, he said, representing some 44,000 lodgings in lower-class neighbourhoods.

Only one of the buildings, number 65, was occupied. Previously, the government said that under the debris may be from five to eight people.

Fire officials deliberately brought down most of a third building due to concerns the unstable structure might cave on top of search crews and sniffer dogs combing the rubble of the other buildings.

"It could have been me", the 25-year-old philosophy student said, visibly shaken.

Marseille authorities launched a vast upgrade plan for the city centre in 2011.

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