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10 dead, several feared trapped after building collapses in Mumbai

  • Published at 02:25 pm July 16th, 2019
India-Mumbai-Building collapsed
Rescue workers and residents search for survivors at the site of a collapsed building in Mumbai, India, July 16, 2019 Reuters

Two teams from India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as well as local volunteers, fire department and police officials were scouring the rubble for survivors

At least 10 people were killed after a four-storey building in Mumbai collapsed on Tuesday, trapping at least 40 people under the rubble, NDTV reported. Five people have been rescued so far and eight have been injured.

The Kesarbai building on Tandel street in Dongri collapsed around 11:40amlocal time, PTI reported, quoting an official from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s disaster management cell. 

"As per the initial information I have received, around 15 families are feared trapped in the collapse," ANI quoted Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as saying. "The building is around 100 years old. The entire focus is on rescuing the people trapped. Investigation will be done."

The National Disaster Response Force said five people have been rescued from the site. Narrow roads, huge crowds and thickly populated areas hampered rescue operations. The locality, which is full of dilapidated buildings, had been flooded due to heavy rain in the past weeks, NDTV reported.

Local residents also joined in the rescue effort and formed a human chain to help remove the debris. "We are assuming that 10 to 12 families are still under the debris," Mumbadevi MLA Amin Patel was quoted as saying by PTI.

Apart from NDRF personnel, police teams, 10 ambulances and fire trucks are at the location. The chief public relation officer of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said a shelter had been opened at the Imamwada Municipal Secondary Girls’ School, ANI reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah condoled the deaths.

"Collapse of a building in Mumbai’s Dongri is anguishing," Modi said in a tweet. "My condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. I hope the injured recover soon. Maharashtra Government, NDRF and local authorities are working on rescue operations & assisting those in need."

"The collapse of a building in Dongri, Mumbai is very tragic," Shah tweeted. "My condolences with the bereaved families and prayers for early recovery of those injured. Rescue operations are in full swing. State government, NDRF and local authorities are doing their best to assist people in need."

The building was owned by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority, and its officials also reached the spot to assess the situation. Senior Congress leader Bhai Jagtap claimed residents had been complaining to MHADA to take prompt measures for a long time since the building was very old and in a dilapidated state.

Mumbai Building Repairs and Reconstruction Board Chairman Vinod Ghosalkar said that the building had been handed over for redevelopment to BSB Developers, which had not started work, IANS reported.

"This is a serious matter and we will investigate why the redevelopment work was not initiated, what caused the delays and take appropriate action against those responsible," said Ghosalkar.

In a letter dated August 7, 2017, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had also said that the building was classified as 'C1', and should be evacuated for demolition at the earliest. It said in an event of mishap they will not be responsible, ANI reported.

Last month, 15 people died after a wall of a housing society compound collapsed on adjacent slums in Pune in Maharashtra amid heavy rain. All those who died – 10 men, a woman and four children – were from Bihar’s Katihar district.