The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 10:46cat

27 Dead in Two India Building Collapses

Written by  TheStructuralEngineer.info
Rescue workers search for survivors buried in the ruble Rescue workers search for survivors buried in the ruble Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Two deadly building collapses occurred in India this past weekend claiming the lives of 27 people. There are still victims trapped in the rubble as well as people who are unaccounted for over the past few days. Ten people died and two people were injured on Saturday when a run-down four-story building collapsed in New Dehli.  The 50 year-old building housed many families and was not well maintained. Later that day, an 11-story building under construction collapsed in Chennai, the capital city of the Tamil Nadu state, after a heavy rainstorm. The building had two towers, once of which collapsed, and was planned to have 42 apartment units.  Seventeen died when the structure toppled. Rescue workers were able to save 21 people who were trapped by the collapse but they fear some workers are still burried in the rubble. It is believed there were around 50 workers on site when the building collapsed.

New Dehli officials claim the first building to collapse on Saturday was built illegally decades ago. They also believe the collapse was at least partially caused by construction work on an adjoining building. On Sunday, Chennai police arrested six people in connection to the second building collapse including the construction company’s partners, the building’s structural engineer, and the building’s architect. Each of the six men who were arrested was charged with criminal negligence.  Dr. T.S. Sridhar, a disaster management commissioner in Tamil Nadu, stated, “The building plan of the collapsed tower was approved by authorities, but it seems the builder either deviated from the approved plan or used substandard material. The exact cause of the building collapse will be known after the inquiry.”

Building collapses are common in India. They can be caused by a number of reasons including adding extra floors to building plans without proper approval, using substandard materials, and a general lack of oversight. Municipal authorities also rarely condemn buildings that are known to be unsafe. Overpopulation has caused strong competition for housing among many residents in India’s major cities. People often live in unsafe structures like the one that collapsed on Saturday because they do not have any other choice.

Sources: CNNNY Times

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