Rescuers search for girl after India building collapse kills four

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Rescuers in the Indian capital on Sunday scrambled to find a little girl in the ruins of a four-storey building after its collapse killed four people and injured several.

Dozens of people in neon orange safety vests and hard hats used earth-moving equipment, shovels and bare hands to shift mangled heaps of steel and concrete after the residential building caved in late Saturday in New Delhi.

"Four people are confirmed dead and eight have been injured. But right now rescue teams are trying to find a small child feared still trapped in there," Dependra Pathak, a senior New Delhi police official, told AFP. "I hope she's still alive but we will have to wait and see."

Pathak cited faulty drainage repair work in the neighbourhood and rain for weakening the building, adding that the flouting of construction norms and "natural wear and tear" also contributed to the collapse.

"These buildings are really old and built by local, unqualified guys without any proper checks" leading to poor foundations and structure, he said.

The Delhi government has ordered an investigation and a detailed report from the local administration within seven days, while a police complaint has been registered against "unknown persons" for causing death by negligence.

The accident is the latest in a long line of deadly building collapses in India, some of which have highlighted shoddy construction standards.

A massive influx of people to cities in search of jobs and a shortage of cheap housing has helped fuel the construction of illegal buildings across the country, often with sub-standard material.

Millions also live in dilapidated old buildings, many of which cave in during rain.

In February a newly built house in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh collapsed and killed 13 people as they slept.

An 11-storey apartment tower being built in Tamil Nadu came crashing down last July following heavy rain - killing 61 people, mostly labourers.