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Central & South Asia

Building collapses claim lives in India

Eleven people killed and others feared trapped under rubble after two apartment blocks in city of Vadodara collapse.

Last Modified: 28 Aug 2013 16:56
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Building collapses are common as huge housing demands and corruption often result in unsafe buildings [AFP]

At least 11 people were killed and several more feared trapped when two apartment buildings collapsed in a city in western India, officials said. 

Rescue workers also pulled out five badly injured people on Wednesday from the debris of the three-story buildings that fell in the city of Vadodara in Gujarat state, said fire chief Hitesh Taparia.

He said the cause of the collapse was not immediately clear.

According to the Associated Press news agency most of the occupants of the 14 apartments in the first building were sleeping when it collapsed.

The adjacent building was evacuated minutes before it fell, police officer Bhanu Pratap Parmar said.

The two buildings were part of 33 housing blocks constructed by the Gujarat government more than a decade ago to house the poor.

More than 250 rescue workers were working to clear debris from the site and search for survivors in the mountain of twisted metal, concrete slabs, bricks and mortar.

Heavy rain

Police officials said there had been unusually heavy rain in Vadodara during the monsoon season and it could have damaged the buildings' foundations.

The Gujarat government has ordered an investigation and will check for structural damage in the 31 other buildings in the complex, Taparia said.

Building collapses are common in India as builders try to reduce costs by using substandard materials, and as multistory structures are often built with inadequate supervision.

Last month, a two-storey hotel collapsed in the southern city of Secunderabad, killing 13 people and injuring 17 others.

In April, another building collapse in Mumbai claimed the lives of 74 people.

The accidents have highlighted shoddy construction standards in the country, where huge demand for housing and endemic corruption often result in illegal, unsafe buildings.

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