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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Dozens killed in building collapse

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Indian police and emergency workers have toiled through the night to rescue survivors after a four-storey building collapsed in a congested neighbourhood of New Delhi, killing at least 64 people and injuring scores of others.

The 15-year-old building housing about 200 people – mostly migrant workers and their families – collapsed on Monday evening into a mountain of concrete slabs, iron rods, bricks and mortar in New Delhi’s Lalita Park neighbourhood.

Some people were believed to be still trapped under the rubble, said New Delhi’s top elected official, Sheila Dikshit, and emergency efforts were hampered because fire engines had difficulty navigating the neighbourhood’s narrow alleyways.

Local residents who were first to arrive at the accident site used bare hands to scoop away debris until they were joined by police and firefighters, who used gas cutters to cut through the iron rods.

Police brought in sniffer dogs to locate people trapped under the debris.

Residents helped carry the injured to vehicles and to transport them to nearby hospitals, as hundreds of people crowded around or peered down from rooftops of nearby buildings.

It was not immediately possible to say what caused the accident but police said there would be an inquiry.

“The scale of the tragedy is unprecedented. I don’t think such a tragedy has taken place in Delhi in the recent past,” the Press Trust of India news agency quoted Ms Dikshit as saying.

At least 64 bodies have been recovered and another 80 people are injured, a city police official said.

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