Rescue efforts end in Indian building collapse; 34 dead

  • World
  • Friday, 01 Sep 2017

Firefighters and rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a collapsed building in Mumbai, India, September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Rescuers in the Indian city of Mumbai wound down on Friday their search for victims in the ruins of a condemned building that collapsed, after pulling 12 survivors and 34 bodies from the rubble, emergency services said.

The 117-year-old, six storey-building in a congested old neighbourhood came crashing down early on Thursday after heavy rain had drenched the financial hub for days.

"Rescue operations are in a demobilisation phase. Two fire appliances and one ambulance will be on standby at site as a precautionary measure," said P. S. Rahangdale, chief fire officer of the Mumbai Fire Brigade.

Among the dead was a 20-day old baby, police said.

The collapse was the second in Mumbai in little over a month. In July, 17 people were killed when a four-storey building came down after suspected unauthorised renovations.

The cause of the latest collapse was not known but it came after several days of torrential rainy-season downpours that flooded parts of the city.

Devendra Fadnavis, the chief minister of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, ordered an inquiry.

The building had been declared unsafe by the housing regulator in 2011 but many people had stayed on living here.

Neighbours said developers tasked with renovating properties in the area had not provided enough information about options for temporary housing.

Officials from the housing regulator told media they had granted a neighbourhood trust with the right to redevelop the building and provide temporary housing to residents.

The trust issued a statement on Thursday saying it had started relocating residents, and had moved seven families in 2014, but other residents had refused to leave.

(Editing by Rafael Nam and Clarence Fernandez)

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