Roof collapse at Chinese middle school gymnasium claims 11 lives in Qiqihar tragedy

Construction work at school is believed to be the cause, rainwater flooded materials left on roof

Eleven people were killed when a roof collapsed at a middle school gymnasium in China's far northeast, authorities said Monday.

The incident occurred Sunday in the city of Qiqihar and the last victim was pulled from the wreckage Monday morning. The official Xinhua News Agency said construction work at the school was the likely cause, after workers stored materials on the gym's roof that absorbed rain water.

Nineteen people had been in the gymnasium of the No. 34 Middle School, Xinhua said, but gave no details on how many were students. Social media and the Baidu news website carried footage of angry parents complaining about what they said was a lack of communication from authorities.


roof collapse at chinese middle school gymnasium claims 11 lives in qiqihar tragedy

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, rescuers conduct a search and rescue operation at the site of a roof collapsed middle school gymnasium in Qiqihar in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province on July 24, 2023. (Zhang Tao/Xinhua via AP)

Such expressions of anger and defiance are usually quickly suppressed by police and government departments worried over social unrest. The ruling Communist Party allows no challenges to its authority and seeks to keep total control over the press and social media.

Construction and industrial accidents are regular occurrences in China, largely resulting from companies ignoring safety standards and corruption or a lack of diligence on the part of local government agencies.

Those problems are especially acute in second- and third-tier cities such as Qiqihar, which lies in the Chinese rustbelt province of Heilongjiang bordering Russia that has seen large-scale economic decline and outward migration in recent years.

via FoxNews July 24th 2023