Forty people feared trapped in Mumbai building collapse

Rescuers were searching for up to 40 people feared trapped when a building collapsed in India’s financial capital of Mumbai on Thursday, officials said.

The four-storey residential building gave way around 08:40am (03:10 GMT) in the densely populated area of Bhendi Bazaar after heavy rains in the city that have killed more than 10 people.

An official in the control room of India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said at least one body had been pulled from the rubble.

“Forty people are believed to be stuck inside and a 43-member team is conducting rescue operations,” an official for the NDRF told the AFP news agency.

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, about 40 to 50 years 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 and news agencies

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