Hanoi mini apartment building cracks, prompting evacuation of hundreds

By Vo Hai, Viet An   February 24, 2024 | 10:50 pm PT
Cracks discovered on the first floor of an eight-story mini apartment building in Hanoi's Thanh Xuan District led to the evacuation of hundreds of residents.
People move their belongings out of the mini apartment building in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi on Feb. 24, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Phong

Residents move belongings from Thanh Xuan District mini apartment, Hanoi, on Feb. 24, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Phong

The structural issues, noted for over a week. Significant cracks were observed running up from the pillars to the ceiling on the first floor, with the owner quickly implementing scaffolding reinforcements and authorities establishing a restricted area. Approximately 50 families were evacuated on Saturday morning for safety.

One resident, Huong, mentioned that the cracks began appearing on Feb. 9, affecting only the first floor's pillars. Despite the lack of visible damage on upper floors, all residents were advised to find temporary housing.

The building, which has been occupied since 2017, consists of seven apartments per floor, with the ground level serving as parking. The apartments are co-owned by the residents, who have been actively seeking solutions for the damage under the supervision of local authorities, said Bui Huyen Mai, Party Committee Secretary of Thanh Xuan District.

The first floor of the mini apartment building is reinforced with scaffolding. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Phong

Scaffolding reinforces the first floor of the mini apartment building. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Phong

Following the incident, Thanh Xuan District officials have commenced a detailed inspection of the building and urged all occupants to relocate for their safety, promising close oversight of both the evacuation and repair processes to guarantee security, Mai said.

This situation arises amidst broader concerns in Thanh Xuan District, which houses 90 mini apartments and over 230 unpermitted construction projects. The Hanoi Department of Construction is currently assessing more than 3,200 projects for compliance with construction regulations.

In September 2023, a fire broke out in a 10-story mini apartment building in the district, killing 56 people and injuring 37. The building's owner and six officials face charges related to fire safety violations and negligence leading to severe consequences.

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