Mumbai Building Collapse: At Least 13 Dead as Apartments Crumble

Image: Mumbai Building Collapse: At Least 13 Dead as Apartments Crumble

Friday, 27 Sep 2013 02:36 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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A building collapse in Mumbai, India, killed more than a dozen people injured and nearly 30 more as a five-story building suddenly fell apart early Friday.

The apartment building in the southern portion of Mumbai collapsed shortly before 6 a.m. Sitaram Kunte, the commissioner of Brihanmumbai Municipal Council, told CNN International that people lived in 22 apartments on the top floors while the street level floor was rented out to a decoration firm.

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The death and injury tolls are expected to skyrocket as emergency personnel estimated that more than 40 people remained trapped Friday afternoon, CNN said.

Indian officials told Reuters that the cause of the collapse remained a mystery.

"Five members from my family were trapped inside," Preeti Pawar said to Reuters as he stood outside of the building. "So far, two have been rescued. I am praying to God others will also come [out] alive.

Mumbai mayor Sunil Prabhu told Reuters that the structure was not on any official list of dilapidated buildings and the incident continued to be investigated.

ChannelNewsAsia.com reported that the block around the apartment complex, which is owned by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corp., was "completely flattened" and workers continued into the afternoon picking up slabs of concrete to dig people out.

Officials told CNN International that collapsed buildings are becoming a huge concern in Mumbai, one of the country's top financial districts. A number of structures have fallen apart this year alone.

In April, numerous Mumbai residents died when a multistory building crumbled in the Mumbai regional city of Thane. CNN reported that because of high demand for housing in the area, some 65 percent of the region's population lives in what is considered slum conditions.

Housing stock through much of the country faces deficiencies. To add to the problems, The New York Times wrote that corruption in Mumbai's building department is considered widespread with inspectors taking bribes to give thumbs up to structures.

The Times added that current rent controls in many areas gives landlords little incentive to upkeep and improve apartments and commercial structures.

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