With as many as 60 families living in cramped quarters of a poorly constructed four-storey building, it was perhaps a tragedy waiting to happen. "The entire building collapsed within seconds as if it was made of sand," said Niranjan, 18, who lost his entire family in the incident that has claimed at least 65 lives in east Delhi's Lakshmi Nagar.
Niranjan had gone to the park and was walking home when he saw the building crashing down in front of his eyes. His brother, mother, sister-in-law and niece were all killed.
"I ran towards the rubble but there was nothing I could do. All of them were found dead by the rescue workers," said the teenager who has been living in Delhi for last five years. Residents say there were about 60 families, all Bengali, living in the building which also housed a beads manufacturing unit on two floors. "On the other two floors, there were 12 quarters each. We would pay between Rs 1500-2500 for a room," said one of the injured.
The rooms in the building were cramped with narrow passages, much like the congested colony where thin roads made it difficult for heavy vehicles to join the rescue work.