Chinese-built hospital risks collapse in Angola: state radio

LUANDA, July  6, 2010 (AFP) - Luanda's general hospital has evacuated 150 patients over worries that the four-year-old, Chinese-built structure could collapse, state radio reported Tuesday.

The patients were evacuated after the discovery of "deep cracks in the walls of the paediatrics and gynaecology wards", the report said.

The eight-million-dollar hospital was built by the China Overseas Engineering Group Company (COVEC), through credit lines provided by Beijing, according to the private weekly O Pais.

The ruling MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) has dispatched one of its parliamentarians, Ariana Afonso, to inspect the damage.

"A structure built so recently should not present this type of problem, which puts patients' lives in danger," she said on state radio.

"Luanda's provincial government should find those responsible. Because eight million dollars is a lot, for a building that took so little time to build," she added.

Since the 27-year civil war ended in 2002, Angola has embarked on a major reconstruction drive with hefty aid from China, which has provided credit lines in exchange for Angolan oil.

China has granted nine billion dollars in loans since the end of the war. Another six billion dollars in credit is under negotiation.