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Mumbai building collapse kills 21 after heavy rains

Mumbai building collapse kills 21 after heavy rains

MUMBAI: An 117-year-old condemned building collapsed in the Indian financial hub of Mumbai on Thursday after two days of torrential rain, killing at least 21 people, with some feared trapped.

Thirteen people were rescued and were recovering in hospital, with six firemen also injured in the six-storey building, the chief fire official said.

“There was a massive bang. We couldn’t see anything due to the dust and smoke. Once the dust settled, we realised it was a building collapse,” said area resident Amina Sheikh.

Disaster struck early in the morning as Mumbai was emerging from two days of heavy rain that flooded the city and killed 14 people.

The collapse was the second in Mumbai in a little over a month. In late July, 17 people were killed when a four-storey building collapsed after suspected unauthorised renovations.

The building that collapsed on Thursday in one of the most densely populated areas of the city housed a nursery school, despite being declared unsafe by the city’s municipal housing authority in 2011. And families were still living there.

Desperate relatives pleaded with rescuers to help find their loved ones after getting phone calls from trapped survivors. About 200 police and fire personnel sorted through the debris.

Police had yet to determine what caused the collapse near Crawford market, a landmark of south Mumbai’s old city with narrow streets packed with markets and shops. Many Muslims live in the neighbourhood.

Rescuers said the area’s narrow roads made it difficult to bring in excavators.

The building housed a sweet shop warehouse on the ground floor and a nursery school on the first floor, although the collapse happened before the children arrived.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2017

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