At least 18 people died Thursday when a building collapsed in India’s financial capital Mumbai following heavy rains that have wreaked havoc in many parts of South Asia.
A dozen others were pulled from the rubble of the four-storey residential building, which gave way around 8:40 am (0310 GMT) in the densely populated area of Bhendi Bazaar.
It was the most recent deadly housing collapse to strike the teeming metropolis — shining a spotlight on poor construction standards in the Asian country — and came after flooding in the city killed 10 people.
“Eighteen people have died. Another 12 have been admitted to hospital,” Vijay Khabale-Patil, a spokesman for Mumbai’s civic authority, told AFP.
Officials estimated that up to 40 people could have been caught up in the disaster. Khabale-Patil said rescue operations would go on into the evening.
Ambulances rushed the injured to the nearby J.J. Hospital in the south of the city while locals joined a 43-member National Disaster Response Force team in picking through piles of debris in a desperate hunt for survivors.
Building collapses are common in Mumbai, especially during the monsoon season from late June to September, when heavy rains lash the western Indian city, weakening poorly built structures.
Severe downpours caused flooding and chaos across Mumbai and the neighbouring region of Thane on Tuesday although waters had receded by late Wednesday.
Bhendi Bazaar, a scruffy colonial-era market, is one of Mumbai’s most historic districts and officials said the collapsed building was 117 years old.
It had been marked for demolition as part of a $600 million redevelopment project that is replacing hundreds of ramshackle, decades-old low-rise buildings with around a dozen glitzy new tower blocks.
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