National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) officials carry a dead body which was recovered from the debris. Reuters
Rescue teams and sniffer dogs in western India searched the rubble for survivors on Tuesday after a five-storey apartment building collapsed "like a house of cards", with up to 70 people buried.
The accident late Monday in the town of Mahad, south of Mumbai, forced three disaster response teams to work through the night, combing tin sheets, twisted metal and broken bricks.
Officials said many residents of the 47 flats inside the building were spared because they had already fled the town to escape the coronavirus pandemic.
The cause of the accident was not immediately clear but building collapses are common during India's June-September monsoon, with old and rickety structures buckling after days of non-stop rain.
National Disaster Response Force spokesman Sachidanand Gawde told reporters that emergency workers had so far retrieved the bodies of two victims.
Estimates of the number still trapped ranged from 20 to 70 after dozens managed to flee when the building began to shake.
"No one knows how many people are actually stuck inside," a Mahad police official told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that authorities had initially feared the worst, with early estimates as high as 200.
Mahad legislator Bharat Gogawale told AFP that many of the building's occupants appeared to have been out shopping when the accident occurred around 7:00 pm.
"As per latest estimates, we think 20 people are trapped inside," he said.
Others had left the town altogether, preferring to wait out the pandemic in their home villages.
"Many families were not residing in the building as they went to their native places due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown," district official Nidhi Choudhari told the Press Trust of India.
Torrential downpours have swept away homes, triggered landslides and claimed at least 180 lives across South Asia.
At least 10 people, including four women and a infant, were killed when a four-storied residential building came crashing down in south Mumbai while 10 injured persons were rescued from the debris, BMC Disaster Control officials said.
It’s a wonderfully executed job. H20’s demolition was perfectly done. No debris went into the water, and they all fell well within its compound, says district collector S. Suhas.
It is believed that the fire brigade arrived at the scene within 6 minutes after the operations room was alerted about a fire in the mall.
"This may be due to a genetic condition of partial loss of pigmentation in feathers known as leucistic," the Galapagos National Park said.
The approval of the loans and exemptions, which is part of the 2020 housing packages of Dhs15.5 billion, coincides with the celebrations of the 49th National Day, in light of the keenness of the UAE’s leadership to maintain social stability and ensure decent living standards for citizens...