At least 17 people were killed Monday in the collapse of a group of decrepit homes in eastern China, state media reported. By evening, 23 people, including 17 who were dead, had pulled from the rubble on the outskirts of the city of Wenzhou and rescue efforts were continuing, mainly by hand to avoid harming any survivors, the Xinhua News Agency said in a brief report.
The cause of the collapses was under investigation, although reports said the four buildings were built in the 1970s by their farmer owners and were in a highly degraded state. Extra floors had been added over the years, making them between three and five stories high and further weakening their structures. Poor construction quality has long been a problem in China, particularly in the countryside and smaller cities.