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Residents allowed to return home after Sanchong buildings evacuated

02/28/2024 09:32 PM
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The apartment building in Sanchong. CNA photo Feb. 28, 2024
The apartment building in Sanchong. CNA photo Feb. 28, 2024

Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) Residents in Sanchong District of New Taipei City who were evacuated Tuesday after work at a construction site caused a nearby apartment building to tilt will be allowed to return home Thursday morning, according to the city authorities.

Following a meeting which confirmed it is safe for the residents to return home after conducting related inspections, New Taipei Deputy Mayor Liu Ho-jan (劉和然) announced the evacuated residents will be able to return home from 8 a.m. Thursday.

A total of 83 people were evacuated Tuesday evening from two buildings -- an 11-story building next to the construction site on Fulong Road, and a 5-story building next to it that tilted to one side following underground excavation work at the site.

The damage is believed to have been caused when construction workers digging a basement drilled through a diaphragm wall, causing groundwater from under an adjacent building to rush in, Lai Chien-hung (賴建宏), head of the New Taipei City Professional Civil Engineers Association, said Tuesday.

The sudden loss of groundwater under the neighboring building is likely what caused it to tilt, according to Lai, who added that water was being pumped back under the structure to temporarily stabilize it.

The structure of the diaphragm wall has been improved and underground water has moved toward a balance after emergency efforts, Liu said.

An assessment by structural engineers, civil engineers, architecture and construction experts has determined the tiling building is stable and there is no concern over structural risks so evacuated residents can go home.

New Taipei City Government will dispatch utility experts to accompany residents Wednesday night to inspect the safety of water, electricity and gas provision, Liu said.

Those who still have concerns about their safety and decide not to return home can continue to stay at hotels and the construction company, which caused the damage, will cover the cost of their stay, he added.

New Taipei City Government will convene a meeting at the Sanchong District Office Thursday evening where city government officials, civil engineers and construction experts will brief residents about the incident, while lawyers are also expected to attend to help the residents seek compensation from the construction company.

(By Wang Kuo-hung, Matthew Mazzetta and Frances Huang)

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