Emergency services struggled to reach dozens of people trapped after a condemned building collapsed in Mumbai on Thursday morning, killing at least 21 others. In the days before the incident, torrential rainfall had pounded India’s financial capital during an unusually strong monsoon season, which has left more than 1,200 dead across India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
Despite the city declaring the building unsafe in 2011, 50 percent of residents — including several families — still lived in the 117-year-old five-story building in the Bhendi Bazar area of India’s financial capital, local lawmaker Amin Patel told the Indian Express.
While emergency services responded quickly to a call at 8.30 a.m. local time, the narrow streets and closely packed buildings — some of them also over a century old — are hampering rescue efforts, the Hindustan Times reports.
So far, firefighters have rescued 34 people from the rubble, but a number of other residents still remain unaccounted for.
Buildings often collapse during monsoon season in India, and five inches of rain had fallen in Mumbai on Tuesday, leaving streets in the area flooded and weakening the foundations of thousands of century-old buildings in the city.
As most of the western world remains focused on the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, a tragedy on a much wider scale continues to play out in South Asia. The brutal monsoon season has affected more than 40 million people and left millions homeless, and isolating thousands of villages.
When the storm reached Pakistan Thursday, images showed streets in the port city of Karachi already submerged.