A five-story building in the Indian financial capital of Mumbai collapsed yesterday, killing 12 people and injuring 14 others, after torrential rains lashed the country’s west.
Another 25 people were feared trapped in the debris.
Rescue workers, police and residents helped pull 13 people out of the rubble and were looking for those buried in the huge mound of mud, concrete slabs and twisted steel girders.
The residential building, which gave way at about 8:40am, was in a congested lane of the Bhendi Bazaar area in southern Mumbai.
It was the latest deadly housing collapse to strike the teeming metropolis — shining a spotlight on poor construction standards in the Asian nation — and came after heavy rains and inundations in the city killed 10 people.
Building collapses are common in Mumbai, especially during the monsoon season from late June to September, when heavy rains lash the western Indian city.
Severe downpours began on Tuesday and caused flooding across Mumbai and the neighbouring region of Thane.
The collapse came as officials said the death toll from the floods was expected to rise above 10, despite the waters receding after better weather.
“We are still on the lookout for more missing persons and the number may go up,” said Santosh Kadam, spokesman for disaster control in Thane.
Bhendi Bazaar, a scruffy colonial-era market, is one of Mumbai’s most historic districts.
It is undergoing a US$600 million redevelopment project that is set to replace hundreds of ramshackle, decades-old low-rise buildings with about a dozen glitzy new tower blocks.
Distraught residents described hearing a loud crash before rushing to the scene of the collapsed structure to try to help.
“There was a huge noise and we all came running,” said Naseem Mogradia, who lives two lanes away.
Shahid Khan, 52, said he did not know whether his friend and seven family members who lived on the ground floor were alive or dead.
“I am just trying to help with rescue operations,” he said.
Mumbai has been hit by several deadly building collapses in recent years, often caused by shoddy construction, poor quality materials or aging buildings.
Millions are forced to live in cramped, ramshackle properties because of rising real-estate prices and a lack of housing for the poor.
Activists say housing societies, private owners and builders often cut corners to save on costs.
They also claim that corruption plays a part with officials sometimes knowingly certifying unsound buildings in return for money.
“Most of the buildings in Bhendi Bazaar are old and dilapidated. We always live in fear that they will collapse during monsoons,” 63-year-old Mohammed Shaikh said.
In July, 17 people — including a three-month-old baby — died when a four-story 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.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big