SHENZHEN — Four days before a mountain of dirt and debris collapsed here on Dec 20, killing at least 69, the government agency in charge of the construction dump convened a meeting to discuss safety concerns. In attendance were representatives of the company with the contract to manage the site and the independent engineering firm paid to monitor its work.
The engineering firm had warned for months that the dump was beset with risks that could destabilise the towering pile of debris. Officials finally seemed to listen at the meeting, promising to stop trucks from piling any more waste at the site, according to Mr Bian Yuxiang, a senior construction engineer with the engineering firm, Shenzhen J-Star Project Management Consultants.
Yet trucks kept arriving at the dump, and Mr Bian later learned that some of the participants at the meeting were not who they seemed. He said local officials had introduced them as representatives of a firm that had monitored the dump before Mr Bian’s firm took over in September, but that firm later said it had nothing to do with the project and knew nothing of the meeting.
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