Cambodia Calls Off Rescue Efforts in Building Collapse as Death Toll Hits Three Dozen

Cambodia has ended its search for victims in the rubble of a seven-story hotel that collapsed late last week, as the number of casualties jumped to an estimated 36 dead and 23 injured—many of whom were living in the unfinished building as members of the crew that was constructing it.

Prime Minister Hun Sen held a press conference on Sunday announcing an end to rescue efforts, in which he defended his government’s handling of the disaster that occurred on Jan. 3 in southern Cambodia’s Kep province. He said that no one would be fired as a result of the collapse, which provincial authorities have said is being investigated to determine a cause.

Hun Sen blamed the collapse on the building’s contractor, who perished in the collapse, and said that the building’s owners—Ek Sarun and his wife, Chhiv Sithy—had been detained for questioning, although he suggested that they were not responsible for the accident.

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