(ReliableNews.org) – It’s no secret that China doesn’t require the same safety standards as the US does when it comes to building codes. In 2008, an earthquake struck the country and caused several schools to collapse, killing 10,000 kids and highlighting the issues some cities had with codes and construction. More than a decade later, multiple people are dead after another accident.
On July 23, a middle school gym roof collapsed in China near the Siberian border. Ten members of the school’s championship girl’s volleyball team died in the incident, as did one other person. According to reports, builders at a complex next to the school in Qiqihar in Heilongjiang Province had stacked construction materials on the gym’s roof. The construction workers violated regulations by doing so.
That day, a rainstorm hit the city. Usually, the water would just roll off of the gym’s roof, but the construction material caused a major issue. The workers had stored plaster on it, and it absorbed the rainwater. As it absorbed the water, it put weight on the building. Finally, it got to an unsustainable weight and collapsed.
Nineteen people were inside the gym at the time of the accident, including two coaches and 17 players. Rescue workers quickly got to work. Fifteen people were trapped under the rubble, which included concrete. Eleven of those victims died.
The gym was built in 1997. Four months ago, the Qiqihar government started inspecting its schools to ensure they were structurally sound. It’s unclear whether this was one of the buildings they reviewed.
Authorities reportedly detained the head of the construction crew that was working on the building next door. Angry parents have reportedly complained that the government responded too slowly and didn’t communicate well with them. A local news website even ran testimonials from them, which surprised some who are used to the government suppressing those outbursts of dissatisfaction.
An official investigation into what happened has already started.
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