Death toll rises to 28 in Cambodia building collapse
Cambodian men pray for their missing relatives at the site of a collapsed building on a construction site in Preah Sihanouk province, Cambodia, Jun. 23, 2019. EPA-EFE/MAK REMISSA
A Cambodian rescue team carries a worker's body at the site of a collapsed building on a construction site in Preah Sihanouk province, Cambodia, Jun. 23, 2019. EPA-EFE/KITH SEREY
A Cambodian rescue team searches for missing workers at the site of a collapsed building on a construction site in Preah Sihanouk province, Cambodia, Jun. 23, 2019. EPA-EFE/MAK REMISSA
Bangkok Desk, Jun. 24 (efe-epa).- The death toll from the weekend collapse of a seven-story building in Cambodia’s seaside resort city of Sihanoukville has risen to 28, authorities said Monday as the search for the missing continued.
Another 26 were injured in the incident, which happened around 5 am on Saturday morning while people were sleeping inside the Chinese-owned building still under construction, according to provincial governor Yun Min, cited by the government-aligned Fresh News.
On Monday afternoon, a day after Prime Minister Hun Sen visited the accident site and appealed for donations to help the victims’ families, the leader said on his Facebook page he had accepted the resignation of Yun Min as governor but that the official would continue to lead the rescue mission.
Hun Sen also confirmed the dismissal of the minister in charge of national disaster management, Nhim Vanda, for his "lack of accountability” and “lies."
It is not clear how many people were inside the building at the time of the accident.
Four people have been detained in connection with the collapse, including the building's owner, the head of the construction project, the contractor and a Cambodian landowner, Fresh News said.
An investigation into the accident has also been launched.
The building was under construction without a permit and officials had given two warnings prior to the collapse, local media quoted Yun Min as saying. It was about 80 percent complete.
On Sunday, the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh said in a statement that it had “reached out to Chinese enterprises and chambers of commerce in Cambodia, mobilizing human resources, materials as well as equipments including large excavators to help with the rescue.”
“As three Chinese nationals related to the accident have been brought under control by the Cambodian police, the Embassy supports a thorough investigation of the accident and necessary measures by competent Cambodian authority in accordance with the law,” the statement said.
The coastal city of Sihanoukville – located some 220 kilometers (137 miles) southwest of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh – is experiencing a boom in hotel and casino construction, an effort being spearheaded by Chinese investors and catering to tourists from the Asian giant.