At least two people were killed when a four-story residential building collapsed on Tuesday in India’s financial capital Mumbai. Dozens are trapped in the rubble.
Teams from the national disaster response force and firefighters are racing to extricate those buried under the debris. Located in a maze of crowded, narrow lanes, rescue crews had to access the site by foot, parking vehicles some distance away. Local volunteers joined the effort, trying to remove the rubble by hand.
A young child and a woman were among the handful that were pulled to safety and taken to hospital in the hours after the collapse.
Eyewitnesses said the building, which was in a dilapidated condition, came crashing down after a loud thud was heard shortly before noon. Heavy rains in the city had inundated the area.
Maharashtra state Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, told reporters the structure was about 100 years old and home to about 15 families. He said an investigation would be conducted.
Authorities say they had told the residents to evacuate the building, but people had ignored the warning.
Efforts are underway to rescue people from adjacent buildings, which are also unsafe. Low-income families, residing in such structures, often find it difficult to find alternate accommodations.
India is no stranger to building collapses, especially during the monsoon season that lasts from June to September when rains weaken the foundations of old structures. Poor construction standards are also often to blame for such disasters.
Mumbai has been pummeled by some of the heaviest rains in recent weeks. The city witnessed another disaster earlier this month when a wall collapsed burying shanty homes and killing 26 people.
On Monday, a building came crashing down in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, killing 14 people.