Delhi collapse rescue bid continues through the night

Emergency workers sort through the rubble

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Police in the Indian capital Delhi are continuing their search for survivors of Tuesday's building collapse which so far has killed at least 66 people.

Workers using saws and hammers cut through concrete slabs of the collapsed five-storey building in east Delhi throughout Tuesday.

They did so as friends and neighbours of people killed and missing looked on.

About 73 hurt were hurt in the collapse. Rescuers say they have found more than 30 survivors.

They say that as the search operation continues, so the cries of those trapped have grown fainter or have stopped altogether.

Survivor pulled from the rubble

"We tried to pull people out of the rubble, a local resident, Jafru, told the BBC.

"There were lots of people trapped, including children. We saved about 20 kids."

Earth-movers and specialist cutting equipment were drafted in on Tuesday, but there were few clues about why the building collapsed.

Some officials said it may have been weakened by flooding following heavy monsoon rains.

Locals say the owner - who has been charged with culpable homicide - was extending the building illegally.

Another building close to the site has been evacuated amid fears that it could also collapse, and there has been a steady stream of officials visiting the site throughout Tuesday.

At the scene

There is frantic activity here. This building collapsed suddenly and without warning late on Monday evening.

The police have cordoned off the area and rescue workers using cutting equipment and bulldozers are poring over the rubble looking for survivors.

It is estimated there were 200 people inside the building when it collapsed, most of them migrant workers who had come to Delhi in search of work.

Indian cities are growing at an almost uncontrollable rate and inevitably, questions are already being asked again about construction standards in a building trade which is rife with corruption.

The government has ordered an inquiry. But once again it is India's poor who have suffered the consequences.

But our correspondent says that things are unlikely to change speedily in a city like Delhi, which is growing at an incredible rate.

Regulations are routinely ignored and corners can easily be cut, our correspondent says, and once again it is some of the poorest people in the capital who have had to suffer the consequences.

Earlier on Tuesday, rescuers used their bare hands as they scrambled to save up to those feared trapped in the rubble.

Emergency services initially had difficulties reaching the site in the narrow lanes of the Lalita Park residential area.

Indian officials said flooding and heavy monsoon rain may have weakened the building's foundations.

"The scale of the tragedy is unprecedented," Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit told the Press Trust of India news agency.

One teenager told Indian media he had been walking home when he saw the block crumble with his family inside.

"The entire building collapsed within seconds as if it was made of sand," 18-year-old Niranjan told the Press Trust of India.

The mostly residential building, which also included some small businesses, was located close to the Yamuna river.

Yoginder Chandolia, a city official, told AP news agency: "During the recent flood, water reached the building's foundation and weakened it considerably, resulting in the collapse."

The block collapsed at about 2015 (1445 GMT) on Monday.

"It fell like a pack of cards. I saw people high up hanging on to remaining bits of the walls. Some were trying to jump out but they couldn't. Others were trapped," Gurwinder Singh, a taxi driver, told the AFP news agency.

The congested Lalita Park area is home to millions of migrant workers who come to Delhi from their impoverished villages for work.

"This is cheap accommodation for a lot of them," city official Deep Mathur said.

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