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34 die in Mumbai building collapse

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Municipal Corporation Building, Mumbai

Municipal Corporation Building in Mumbai, India. Photo: Mayur Thakare.

A six-storey residential building in the Bhendi Bazar area in India’s most populous city Mumbai, collapsed on Thursday morning at 8:40 local time (0310 UTC). The death toll has risen to 34. Ten fire tenders with seventy firemen and ambulances have so far rescued 46 people from the rubble. Rescue workers told the BBC that all survivors had been helped to safety.

“There was a massive bang. We couldn’t see anything due to the dust and smoke. Once the dust settled, we realised it was a building collapse,” Amina Sheikh, who lives in the neighborhood, told the press.

This is the third building in Mumbai to collapse in the past 30 days. There was another in a suburb, Ghatkopar, on July 17.

“People here say they watched some of their friends and relatives pulled out of the rubble,” reported Divya Gopalan of Al Jazeera. “They also say that there were complaints of structural damage on the building before, but authorities failed to act on it. […] landlords often don’t want to pay for what could be extensive repairs, while tenants refuse to move out as property prices here are sky-high – some of the most expensive in the world. They say if they do developers will swoop in and and they will not be able to afford to live in this city.”

Police say the heavy rains that pummeled Mumbai last week could have weakened the building, which is over 100 years old. Reuters, reported the building was declared unsafe in 2011, but, according to India’s National Disaster Response Force, about eight families still lived inside.



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