India floods: Building collapses in Mumbai killing at least 12 people and trapping dozens

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At least 12 people are feared dead and dozens trapped after a building collapsed following torrential rains in the Indian city of Mumbai.

The five-storey building in the southern area of the city collapsed after torrential rains lashed the country’s west, causing severe flooding across south Asia.

Rescue workers, police and residents have helped pull 13 people out of the rubble and were looking for those buried in the huge mound of mud, concrete slabs and twisted steel girders.

It is believed thousands of Mumbai buildings more than 100 years old are at risk of collapse, with their foundations weakened partly by some of the heaviest rainfall that the city has witnessed in more than 15 years.

Rescue workers clear rubble from the scene of the collapsed building (AP)

More than 1,000 people have been killed in the worst flooding to strike India, Bangladesh and Nepal in years.

A police official at the site said it was not immediately clear how many people were trapped in the building in southern Mumbai.

Authorities were advising people living in an adjacent building to leave after it developed cracks following Thursday’s collapse.

Rescue workers recover the body from the site (AP)

“We are asking people to check if their family members are safe and accounted for,” said Manoj Sharma. He said nine families lived in the building.

A nursery school was located in the ground floor of the building, but the collapse occurred before the toddlers had reached for the day.

Dozens of rescuers are working at the site (EPA)

Hours after the collapse, rescuers used earth moving machines to lift concrete slabs and cement blocks as they searched for survivors.

Building collapses are common in India during the monsoon season, which is June to September. High demand and lax regulations encourage some builders to use substandard materials or add unauthorized extra floors.

Meanwhile, the city was slowly limping back to normalcy after it was paralyzed by heavy downpours for two days.

Firefighters and rescue workers carry the body of a victim at the site (REUTERS)

Train services and public transport were halted and airports shut on Tuesday as roads turned into rivers and floodwaters seeped into many low-lying buildings.

In many places, people had to abandon their vehicles and wade through waist-deep water to reach their homes.

Schools, colleges and offices that were shut Wednesday opened Thursday, but attendance was sparse.

Rescuers work at the site of a building collapse in Mumbai (AP)

Every year the city struggles to cope with the annual monsoon deluge, drawing criticism about its poor planning.

The rains have led to wide-scale flooding in a broad arc stretching across the Himalayan foothills in the three countries, causing landslides, damaging roads and electric towers and washing away tens of thousands of homes and vast swathes of farmland. 

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