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Deaths reported as Mumbai building collapses

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At least three people died and dozens were feared trapped when a building collapsed in India’s financial capital of Mumbai on Thursday, after days of heavy rain swamped the city.

Rescuers using diggers could be seen sifting through the remains of the four-storey residential building which gave way around 08:40am (03:10 GMT) in the densely populated area of Bhendi Bazaar.

It was the latest deadly housing collapse to strike the teeming metropolis – shining a spotlight on poor construction standards in the Asian country – and came after heavy rains and inundations in the city killed more than 10 people.

A spokesman for the Mumbai civic authority’s disaster control team said three bodies had been pulled from the rubble.

“Three people are dead and thirteen injured have been rescued from the building collapse. Two firemen also have been injured during the rescue operations,” Tanaji Kamble, told AFP news agency.

An official in the control room of India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said at least 40 people were believed to be stuck inside.

“A 43-member team is conducting rescue operations,” the NDRF official said.

Eight or nine families were believed to have been living in the building, the official said.

Later reports suggested more rescuers had joined the search operation.

Monsoon effect

“The building is said to be old,” said Al Jazeera’s Divya Gopalan, reporting from Mumbai. “It was already quite dilapidated.

“Mumbai is home to a lot of old buildings. Many were wary that there would be some kind of an issue like this, given the rains.”

Building collapses are common in India, especially during the monsoon season from late June to September, when heavy rains lash the teeming metropolis.

Severe downpours began on Tuesday and caused flooding across Mumbai and the neighbouring region of Thane.

Mumbai has been hit by several deadly building collapses in recent years, often caused by shoddy construction, poor quality materials or ageing buildings.

The city is particularly vulnerable to deadly collapse with millions forced to live in cramped, ramshackle properties because of rising real estate prices and a lack of housing for the poor.

In July, 17 people, including a three-month-old baby, died when a four-storey building gave way in the northern suburb of Ghatkopar.

In 2013, 60 people were killed when a residential block came crashing down in one of Mumbai’s worst housing disasters.

[Source: Al Jazeera]
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