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Assistance for victims of collapse in fast lane

The Minhang District government has ordered the developer of a 13-story building that toppled on June 27 in Shanghai and killed a worker to fast-track a compensation package for stricken owners.

Details of the compensation deal on the fallen building are expected this week.

The Shanghai Bar Association has selected 74 lawyers specializing in real estate matters to help apartment owners in the Lotus Riverside complex.

Compensation is foremost in the mind of many apartment owners, and not just those in the collapsed No.7 building.


Shi Xiaofeng, a 29-year-old Shanghai native, has an apartment in the shaky No. 6 building, which is next door to the collapsed building, and said moving there was now out of the question. "I just want my money back as I will not risk my family's safety to live in that home," he said.

In May, Shi paid 1.39 million yuan (US$203,545) for an 11th-floor apartment of about 95 square meters.

Shi has planned to wed this year but after the building collapse, "the wedding is postponed indefinitely," he said.

Official investigators said the construction mistake that hit the No.7 building was also present in the No.6 block, causing it to shift slightly.

But they declared the No.6 building safe after it was fortified. They said the other nine buildings in the complex were also safe.

"The building is called safe after just shoring up the ground," an unnamed owner told the Southern Metropolis Daily. "Do they think it's as easy as building with toy bricks?"

Another owner echoed these fears to the newspaper, saying: "We may spend years living in fear and suffering from depression."

Jin Wenmin, who bought an apartment in the No.8 building, has not had a proper night of sleep since the collapse.

Jin, a foreman of a construction site himself, bought his apartment just the day before the collapse that happened about 5:40am.

The native of Shaoxing City in Zhejiang Province now regrets buying the home - and the 470,000 yuan mortgage that comes with it. He paid a 1.17 million yuan deposit.

Other Lotus Riverside apartment owners said they would not move in even if the site was declared safe.

As of yesterday, at least 20 people who bought apartments in the toppled building have filed applications for a refund. About 90 apartments in the building had been sold.

Meanwhile, residents of the South City neighborhood, also in Minhang District, are still waiting for an inspection report to reassure them that their homes are safe.

Cracks appeared on a road, the exterior of an apartment building and other structures at the complex, about a kilometer from Lotus Riverside.


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