Only ten survivors, and 53 dead. This is the heavy final toll unveiled by the Chinese public television CCTV, Friday, May 6, after a week of research to save the inhabitants trapped in the rubble of a building which had collapsed in Changsha, in the center of the country, April 29.

The eight-storey building, which housed a hotel, apartments and a cinema, collapsed for an as yet unknown reason. “All the people trapped and of whom we had no news on the site [de la catastrophe] have been found”said CCTV, which announced that the rescue operations were now “finished”. Officials in the city, capital of Hunan province, offered their condolences to the families of the victims and their “sincere apologies” at a press conference on Friday.

Shortly after the tragedy, President Xi Jinping ordered a thorough investigation into the cause of the disaster. Eleven people, including the owner of the building and a team of security inspectors, have already been arrested according to Changsha authorities. Two of them are suspected of having brought about transformations having “altered” the building, and the inspectors would have falsified a security expertise. This type of disaster occurs regularly in China. Most of the investigations that are then carried out highlight non-compliance with construction standards.


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