Rescue workers yesterday picked through the rubble of a collapsed Chinese-owned building in a Cambodian beach town in a desperate search for survivors after the construction site accident killed at least 18 people.
Construction workers said the unfinished building in the coastal city of Sihanoukville doubled as their housing, with the crew spending nights on the second floor. About US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion) was invested in the Preah Sihanouk province between 2016 and previous year alone, and there are around 50 Chinese-owned casinos and dozens of hotel complexes under construction in Sihanoukville.
Provincial authorities said that as of Monday 75% of the debris had been cleared.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen conveyed his condolences to families of the victims, announcing that the government will donate 10,000 Dollars to each family of the deceased. The construction firm and contractor were both Chinese-owned as well.
Around 50 workers would normally have been on the site at the time, Preah Sihanouk governor Yun Min said.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that he would be traveling to Sihanoukville to oversee the rescue efforts.
The search and rescue operation continues.
It also instructed the committee to evaluate the qualifications of construction companies and to update the already-constructed buildings. Nhor Chandeun and his wife were asleep when at around 4 a.m. Saturday they heard a loud noise and the building crumbled on top of them.
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In an ordeal that began before dawn while workers slept, Phat Sophal said he spent around six hours trapped in the debris, before being pulled out by rescuers on Saturday morning.
Reuters news agency quoted spokesman for the local province of Preah Sihanouk as saying that more than 30 people were still missing and feared trapped inside the building.
A reason for the collapse has not yet been given, but the city police chief said a Chinese woman was being "detained for questioning".
The Chinese Embassy "supports a thorough investigation of the accident and necessary measures by competent Cambodian authority in accordance with the law", the embassy said in a statement Monday.
It is not clear how many people were at the site at the time of the collapse.
The building was almost 80 per cent complete when it collapsed around 4am last Saturday.
Rescuers try to remove the rubble at the site of a collapsed building in Preah Sihanouk province, Cambodia, Sunday, June 23, 2019.