Death toll in India building collapse jumps to 39

This photograph provided by India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) shows rescuers at the site after a residential building collapsed in Bhiwandi in Thane district, a suburb of Mumbai, India, Monday, Sept.21, 2020. (AP)
Updated 23 September 2020

Death toll in India building collapse jumps to 39

  • A senior NDRF official told AFP that recovery teams, aided by sniffer dogs, retrieved 39 bodies buried under brick and concrete

MUMBAI:The death toll from an apartment block collapse in western India jumped to 39 Wednesday, officials said, as hopes of finding anyone else alive dimmed.
Emergency workers from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have so far pulled 20 survivors from the rubble of the three-story building in Bhiwandi, near Mumbai.
A senior NDRF official told AFP that recovery teams, aided by sniffer dogs, retrieved 39 bodies buried under brick and concrete after the block came crashing down before dawn on Monday.
“Five people are still missing so... operations are ongoing,” NDRF Commandant Anupam Srivastava said.
An official with the Thane city authority, which oversees Bhiwandi, said the dead included at least eight children.
The cause of the incident was not immediately clear, but building collapses are common during India’s June-September monsoon season, with old and rickety structures buckling under days of non-stop rain.
Heavy overnight downpours in the Mumbai region forced railway authorities to reschedule or cancel trains in the city Wednesday due to waterlogging on tracks.
Mumbai city officials also declared Wednesday a holiday, advising residents to stay indoors after the rain caused flooding and disrupted traffic in some areas of the financial capital.


Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

Updated 24 October 2020

Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

  • There has been an upsurge in violence between Taliban and Afghan forces in the country
  • The US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February, opening up a path toward withdrawing American troops from the conflict

KABUL: A suicide bomber struck near an education centre in the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing at least 18 people in the latest attack to rock the conflict-wracked country.
Violence on the ground has spiked in recent weeks despite the Taliban and the Afghan government holding peace talks in Qatar to end the country's grinding war.
The suicide attack, which also wounded 57, happened late afternoon at the centre, which offers training and courses for students in higher education in a western district of Kabul.
"A suicide bomber wanted to enter the education centre," Tareq Arian, spokesman for the interior ministry, said in a statement.
"But he was identified by the centre's guards after which he detonated his explosives in an alley."
He said the attack had left at least 18 people dead and 57 wounded.
"I was standing about 100 metres from the centre when a big blast knocked me down," said local resident Ali Reza, who had gone to hospital with his cousin who was wounded in the blast.
"Dust and smoke was all around me. All those killed and wounded were students who wanted to enter the centre."
Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.
Residents in several districts of western Kabul belong to the minority Shiite Hazara community, often targeted by Daesh militants. 
In the past, extremists have targeted several education centres and other facilities in the area.
In May, a group of gunmen launched a brazen daylight attack on a hospital in west Kabul that left several mothers dead. The gunmen were shot dead after hours of fighting with security forces.