Cooking oil cans found inside the pillars of a collapsed Taiwanese residential complex
An investigation has been launched into the collapse of the Taiwanese apartment complex toppled by last Saturday's 6.4 magnitude earthquake.
Most of the 34 people now confirmed to have died had been inside the Weiguan Jinlong building in Tainan City. Offical records suggest about 260 people were living in the building but it is now thought that more than 300 were inside at the time of the collapse.
Mayor William Lai said survivors had reported legal 'violations' in the building, but gave no further details.
Following the earthquake cooking oil cans have been spotted inside the pillars of the residential complex. However a Taiwanese structural engineer has said they were there for aesthetic purposes and may not have been the cause of the collapse.
The engineer, Tai Yun-fa, was responding to questions relating to the cooking oil cans which were exposed in the pillars of the 16-storey Weiguan Jinlong building.
The Weiguan Jinlong residential complex, which comprised around 200 housing units, was built in the city's Yong Kang District in 1983 by a construction company that has since gone out of business.
Commenting Tai said: “In many buildings constructed before September 21, 1999, when a deadly magnitude 7.3 quake killed 2,415 people in Taiwan, cooking oil cans were used as fillers inside pillars to make them look bigger.”
"It is preposterous" to think that cooking oil cans would be used in a pillar for support purposes, Tai said
Taiwan has extremely stringent and mostly well enforced building codes as a result of the island's location. The country sits on one of the tectonically most complex regions in the world, at the boundary between the Philippine Sea and Eurasia plates. There the two plates converge with a velocity of about three inches per year.
Officials said late on Sunday that 310 people had been rescued, with 100 of them taken to hospital.
Nearly 500 people in total were injured, and a further 121 are still unaccounted for.