New Delhi, Sep 22 (efe-epa).- Death toll in a building collapse in the western Indian state of Maharashtra increased to 20 on Tuesday after over 24 hours of intense search and rescue efforts, in which another 20 people were found alive.
The four-floor residential building, which was around a 30-year-old structure, collapsed early Monday around 4am in Bhiwandi, a city in Thane district, on the outskirts of Mumbai.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) chief Satya Pradhan, in a tweet, gave an update about the recovery of 20 bodies since the start of the operations that commenced soon after the accident.
Moreover, another 20 people were rescued from the rubble, said Pradhan, adding that the rescue efforts in “difficult conditions” were still underway.
Pictures released by NDRF showed the members of the rescue team extracting survivors holed up in the small air pockets formed inside the rubble at the accident site.
Among those rescued was a seven-year-old child, who was found in a conscious state even after remaining buried for several hours.
The collapse occurred in an area surrounded by many other buildings and narrow streets, making it difficult to use machinery to remove the rubble.
As a result, much of the operations have been carried out manually by members of the NDRF team.
TV channels quoted residents in the neighborhood saying said the building was dilapidated and that they had conveyed their fears of its imminent collapse to the authorities.
The authorities are yet to report on the cause of the collapse.
Building collapses and fires are common in India owing to the often precarious condition of infrastructure and a lack of maintenance, factors that are aggravated by corruption and illegal practices within the construction sector.
Monsoon season only serves to heighten the possibility of collapses, with a prolonged period of intense rain affecting building structures.
Last year, 13 people died when a building collapsed during the monsoon season in July in Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra, and considered India’s financial capital.
The same month, a building collapse due to incessant rain in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh claimed 12 lives and injured 30 others.
And a few days before that, torrential rain in Maharashtra caused the deaths of at least 23 people, 14 of them brought about by the collapse of a wall in a shanty area. EFE-EPA