Severe rains have caused flight delays in Hong Kong and southern China this week, but in Guiyang, the capital of southwestern China’s Guizhou province, the bad weather brought down a nine-storey building.
A total of 15 people were still missing today, with one confirmed dead after the apartment block housing 114 residents collapsed on Wednesday morning.
A man name Zhang who was pulled from the building by rescuers told Xinhua in an interview that “he was awakened by loud noises” before running out of the building. The resident of the block’s ground floor was buried by cascading debris before being dug out by workers.
The apartment building was 35 years old and was located in the city’s Yunyan district. Officials in the city of three million people have assured residents of several identical buildings in the same neighborhood that their homes are safe, although residents of adjacent blocks were evacuated after the incident.
The Guiyang city government cited heavy rains as a likely cause for the building’s collapse, which is said to have happened in seconds. Local news reports suggested that a landslide on a hill next to the apartment block may have washed away the foundation after a week of heavy rain.
Rescuers continue to search for survivors amongst the buildings rubble.
Collapses Not Uncommon in China
In China where building inspections are lax and safety standards unevenly enforced, multiple building collapses happen each year.
During 2009 a nearly completed thirteen-storey apartment block in Shanghai’s Minhang district toppled on its side, killing one worker. While official reports cited worker negligence as the primary cause in the collapse of the unfinished housing project, heavy rainfall was also cited as a factor.
In December last year three children were killed in the northern Chinese city of Yongqing, and in in Hebei province when their kindergarten building fell on top of them. In February of 2014, nine people in Jinhua, in eastern China’s Zhejiang province were killed when an auditorium collapsed on them.