Death toll surges as Cambodian building collapse search ends - GulfToday

Death toll surges as Cambodian building collapse search ends


Rescue personnel work at the site where a building collapsed, trapping and killing workers, in Cambodia. AFP

The death toll from the collapse of a building under construction in Cambodia has surged to 36, even as an additional survivor was pulled from the rubble, officials said on Sunday.

At least a dozen bodies were found in overnight operations at the site in the coastal province of Kep, where the building toppled on Friday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the end of the rescue operation, confirming that 23 injured survivors were found.

Emergency workers conduct a recovery operation in Kep province, Cambodia, on Saturday. AP

A statement from Kep provincial authorities said that at least 13 women and six children were among the dead.

Women are often employed as construction workers in Cambodia and neighboring Thailand, and families of workers also often live at the construction sites.

At a news conference at the site, Hun Sen said the couple who owned the building and hired the construction crew had been detained and sent to court to face charges. He did not specify the charges. A committee was being set up to determine the cause of the collapse.

Hun Sen said that according to preliminary findings, the building collapsed because the construction work failed to adhere to safety standards.

He said that plywood that is normally put underneath the concrete separating each floor is supposed to remain in place for about one month to allow proper setting, but instead was removed after roughly 10 days. He also indicated that the rebar - the steel rods assembled in a mesh to reinforce the concrete - were not of a strong enough gauge.

A senior provincial police officer had said Friday that the accident occurred after concrete had been poured on the top level of the building.

Associated Press

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