At least 36 people were dead and 23 others rescued from the debris of a collapsed building in Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday.

The search and rescue operation ended at 11.35 a.m., more than 43 hours after the seven-storey building collapsed on Friday afternoon in the coastal city of Kep, about 150 km south of Phnom Penh, Efe news reported.

During a press conference, President Hun Sen confirmed the casualty figures and said that the owners of the building “were in the hands of law enforcement”.

The provincial governor would retain his job since it was an accident, he added.

The Cambodian leader reiterated that the families of those who were killed would receive about $50,000 in compensation, plus an additional amount towards funeral costs, while $10,000 would go to each of the injured victims.

In the case of the last few rescues, each would receive $20,000, he added.

In 2019, rescue workers picked through the rubble of a collapsed Chinese-owned building in a Cambodian beach town in a desperate search for survivors after the construction site accident that left at least 17 people dead.

The southwestern town of Sihanoukville is awash with Chinese investment that has sparked a building frenzy to cater to mainland tourists flooding the town’s city’s casinos, beaches and glitzy hotels.

Beijing is pouring investment into Cambodia as part of its behemoth Belt and Road initiative, a sweeping trillion-dollar infrastructure programme across Asia, Africa and Europe.