India

Chennai building collapse toll reaches 47

Rescuers search through several layers of rubble after Chennai collapse - 1 July Image copyright AFP
Image caption Rescuers are using sniffer dogs to locate survivors trapped under the rubble

The death toll in a building collapse in the Indian city of Chennai has reached 47 as rescue workers continue to find more bodies in the wreckage.

Some 27 survivors have been pulled from the rubble, and a few others are feared trapped in the debris.

Around 70 workers were in the 11-storey building which was under construction when it toppled on Saturday night.

India has seen frequent building collapses, many blamed on lax safety and substandard construction materials.

At least six people, including construction company officials, have been arrested in connection with the collapse in Chennai (Madras), the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Karuna Sagar, a senior police officer, told the AFP news agency that rescue workers would "continue with the operations until we are satisfied that there are no other survivors and all the debris has been cleared".

Reports said that one of the survivors, a 27-year-old man, said there were "several" people still alive under the mass of concrete.

While the cause of the latest collapse is still under investigation, a lack of construction codes, leading to lax safety, is one reason for frequent collapses of buildings and other infrastructure projects in India.

There is also a high demand for housing, pushing up costs and forcing less affluent people to risk their lives in decrepit or badly constructed buildings.

Earlier on Saturday, a four-storey building came down in the capital Delhi, killing 10 people, including five children.

In January, at least 14 people died when a building under construction came crashing down in the western state of Goa.

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