the death toll in the collapse of a six-story building in the southwestern province of Kep in Cambodia on Friday rose to 36, said Sunday Prime Minister Samdech Hun sen of Teco.
"a total of 36 people, including 14 women, were declared dead, and 23 others, including eight women, were injured in a ruined building," he said at a press conference marking the end of the rescue operation.
All the victims were Cambodians, and among them were builders and members of their families, including children.
the Building collapsed at about 16:30 (local time) on Friday, when the workers poured the concrete for the construction of the seventh floor.
"the Preliminary investigation showed that we made two mistakes," said Hun Sen.
first, the contractor used steel rebar of smaller diameter than was required in the General plan of the building, and, secondly, the contractor removed the wooden scaffolding supporting the solidifying of the concrete slab within 10 days after pouring, while the safe period for removal of formwork was 28 days, he said.
"Mistakes of the contractor led to this tragedy," the Prime Minister said, adding that the owners of the building - a local resident and his wife were arrested and will be sent to court for prosecution.
Hun sen expressed his profound sympathy to the families of those killed and injured in this incident.
meanwhile, the Prime Minister said that none of his officials will not be held responsible for the collapse of the building. Hun sen said that in the future such incidents will be less or not at all, after the recently adopted law on construction will be fully put into effect.
an official from the Kep Provincial Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction said on Friday that the building owner has applied for a license for the construction of a five-story building, but he later illegally added onto it to seven floors.