MUMBAI (AFP, Reuters) – At least six people were crushed to death when a four-storey building housing a nursing home collapsed in India’s financial capital of Mumbai Tuesday (July 25), the latest incident to highlight poor construction standards in the country.
Rescuers pulled a dozen others out of the rubble alive, some seriously injured, after the structure gave way mid-morning in the northern suburb of Ghatkopar, officials said.
“The death toll is now six. We think around 15 may still be trapped and rescue operations are ongoing,” Tanaji Kamble, a disaster management spokesman for Mumbai’s civic administrative body, told AFP.
Building collapses are common in India, especially during the annual monsoon season which usually runs from late June to September.
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In a separate incident Tuesday, a building partially collapsed in Kolkata in India’s east after days of monsoonal rain. Several people were trapped in the rubble, but there were no immediate reports of casualties. “Firefighters are trying to rescue the people trapped under the debris,” said G P Ghosh, director of fire services in West Bengal state.
P.S. Rahangdale, chief fire officer of the Mumbai Fire Brigade, said the ground floor of the building in the northern suburb of Ghatkopar housed a nursing home, which was vacant, while the rest of the building was occupied by three or four families on each floor.
He said 14 fire engines, two rescue vans and 8 ambulances were at the site after the building gave way mid-morning. A police official at the site said 12 people had so far been rescued.
"Entire ground and four floored residential building collapsed. About 30 to 40 persons suspected to be trapped. Until now nine persons (have been) rescued and sent to hospital," Rahangdale said in a text message to AFP.
"Our rescue teams are conducting search operations to help people trapped inside," he added.
Millions of Indians are forced to live in cramped, ramshackle properties because of rising real estate prices and a lack of housing for the poor.
A dilapidated building killed 12 people when it collapsed outside Mumbai in August 2015. Nine people died the same month when another old three-storey building collapsed in monsoon rain in the Mumbai suburb of Thakurli. At least four people were killed in two incidents in April and August last year when buildings collapsed in the city.