Large cracks in streets force evacuation of thousands from high-rise buildings in Tianjin, China

Photo source: Chinese state media.

9th June 2023 – (Tianjin) Several high-rise apartment buildings in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin were evacuated in recent days after large cracks appeared on nearby streets due to land collapses, according to state media and the local government.

The cracks appeared on roads near a residential complex in Tianjin’s Jinnan district, and geological experts believe they were caused by underground cavities at a depth of 1,300 meters. As of 3rd June, a total of 3,899 residents from at least three 25-storey high-rise buildings were evacuated to nearby hotels, according to the district government.

The Tianjin government described the incident as a “sudden geological disaster” following preliminary information from geological experts and several government departments after conducting surveying, mapping, and monitoring at the site. An expert questioned about the incident at the Tianjin government municipal headquarters stated that the situation was very rare.

The Tianjin government also stated that it could not rule out that the drilling of geothermal wells had resulted in soil loss and land subsidence in the area. Experts noted that the high-rise buildings facing the street were affected to varying degrees.

Photos on social media showed roads buckled and warped, and a section of wall tile from a building collapsed on the floor. The incident highlights concerns for building safety in China, where the government has enforced stricter rules and policies and handed out hefty punishments for lax management of properties.

The Chinese government has also held several high-level meetings on geological and hidden disaster preparation in recent times, indicating the seriousness with which it views such incidents.