Dozens missing in building collapse in China

Dozens of people are trapped or missing after a building collapsed in central China, officials said on Saturday, the second day of rescue operations. At least 23 people were trapped by late Saturday, while 39 others remained unreachable, the mayor of Changsha told reporters.

The eight-story building (not six as previously mistakenly announced by authorities) collapsed on Friday afternoon in the city of Changsha. It housed a hotel, apartments and a cinema. No deaths have been announced so far.

Not-so-exceptional disasters

City authorities said five people were rescued overnight from the collapsed structure. Rescuers were trying to make their way through the rubble. They used circular saws to extricate several survivors. State media showed firefighters cutting through a tangle of metal and concrete, while rescuers shouted in an attempt to communicate with survivors.

This type of disaster occurs quite frequently in China, due to poor compliance with safety rules and a certain laxity of the services supposed to ensure their proper application.

In January, an explosion triggered by a suspected gas leak caused a building to collapse in the city of Chongqing, some 1,700 kilometers west of Shanghai, killing more than a dozen people. The explosion of a gas pipe in a residential area in June 2021 killed 25 people in Hubei province (center).

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