Build­ing col­lapse kills 6 in Mum­bai

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

At least six peo­ple were crushed to death when a four-storey build­ing col­lapsed in In­dia’s fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal of Mum­bai yes­ter­day, 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.

In a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent yes­ter­day, 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. Mum­bai is par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble with mil­lions forced to live in cramped, ram­shackle prop­er­ties be­cause of ris­ing real es­tate prices and a lack of hous­ing for the poor.

The city has been hit by sev­eral deadly build­ing col­lapses in re­cent years, of­ten caused by shoddy con­struc­tion, poor qual­ity ma­te­ri­als or age­ing build­ings. In 2013, 60 peo­ple were killed when a res­i­den­tial block came crash­ing down in one of Mum­bai’s worst hous­ing dis­as­ters. A di­lap­i­dated build­ing left 12 peo­ple dead when it col­lapsed near the city 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.

8 dead in wors­en­ing floods

Mean­while wors­en­ing floods killed an­other eight peo­ple in 24 hours in In­dia’s Gu­jarat state as res­cue teams raced yes­ter­day to reach hun­dreds of peo­ple ma­rooned in stricken towns and vil­lages. With scores now dead in mon­soon floods across the coun­try, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi was to fly over Gu­jarat later yes­ter­day to in­spect the dev­as­ta­tion, of­fi­cials said.

More than 36,000 peo­ple have been moved to safe ar­eas and heli­copters and boats were used to res­cue the worst-hit. Tor­ren­tial rain and the re­lease of wa­ter from dams in neigh­bor­ing Ra­jasthan state cre­ated havoc in north­ern Gu­jarat, a gov­ern­ment state­ment said. Army and air force he­li­copter res­cue teams picked up more than 1,000 peo­ple from vil­lages in the state cut off by ris­ing wa­ter lev­els, it added.

About 80 peo­ple are be­lieved to have been killed in Gu­jarat since the start of the mon­soon a month ago, and scores else­where in the coun­try. Gu­jarat’s main city Ahmed­abad has had more than 50 cen­time­ters of rain in four days, twice the av­er­age for July. Down­pours have wreaked havoc in sev­eral parts of the coun­try.

Apart from Gu­jarat, Arunachal Pradesh and As­sam states in In­dia’s north­east have been hard-hit, while pock­ets of the east­ern states of Odisha and Bi­har have also been af­fected. In As­sam at least 75 peo­ple have been killed and a state-wide emer­gency re­lief op­er­a­tion has been un­der­way since April. Tens of thou­sands of acres of crops have been de­stroyed. Thir­teen peo­ple were killed in flash floods in Jammu and Kash­mir at the week­end.

—AFP

MUM­BAI: In­dian res­cue work­ers look for sur­vivors in de­bris at the site of a build­ing col­lapse.

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