At least five shops in Guangzhou, China, have been destroyed after being swallowed by a massive sinkhole, the Shanghaiist reports.
Thousands are also reportedly without power after the collapse took out electric cables:
“The collapsed site is 300 sq metres wide and nine metres deep, and still expanding,” Shanghaiist notes.
As of this writing, no casualties have been reported.
“Police have blocked the site and evacuated all residents in neighbouring buildings. Frightened residents have been sent to a local community centre. Gas could be smelt from over 30 metres away, and deafening noises could be heard as the land continued to crack and sink,” the report claims.
“According to local residents, this is not the first such collapse along Kangwang Road. Back in 2004, a 30 sq metre site near Xinguang Plaza also collapsed, reportedly due to the construction of an underground tunnel,” the report adds.
Here’s a photo from a Weibo user in Guangzhou that shows the scale of the sinkhole:
“Sinkholes are becoming a worrying problem in China. In 2007, there were 54 sinkhole collapses, and by 2009, that number was all the way up to 129. According to one estimate, between July 21st and August 12th 2012, 99 sinkhole collapses occurred just in Beijing,” notes Business Insider’s Adam Taylor.
Although the cause of the Guangzhou collapse is unknown, some believe it was caused by rapid economic expansion and poor development planning -- the same two factors that characterize similar sinkholes in China.
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Featured image courtesy Getty Images.