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Four killed by Rangoon building collapse

At least four people, including a 15-year-old girl, have been killed and 10 others injured after a building collapsed yesterday in downtown Rangoon, Burma’s most populous city.

A Rangoon resident said that an unknown number of people were still trapped in the rubble after the old three-storey building, located at the corner of Strand Road and 30th Street, collapsed around 4.50pm yesterday.

“The building was already declared as dangerous to inhabit but residents who lived there instead of moving out were planning to renovate it,” he said. “But it collapsed before the renovation began. About 10 people were seen taken to hospital in ambulances.”

He said the rubble was still being cleared, with unconfirmed reports that four people were killed. Four firemen were among the injured.

“A woman trapped underneath the rubble was contacting people outside via a mobile phone,” he said. “Around 7.30pm, the remains of the building collapsed again while the fire brigade and local [Myanmar] Red Cross were clearing the rubble, causing them fear to continue their work.”

Rangoon’s mayor was reportedly seen at the site directing the rescue operation, while locals who had offered to help clear the rubble were told that the security situation was too fragile.

Many Rangoon buildings are in a state of dilapidation after years of neglect and economic mismanagement by the ruling junta, while the city suffers frequent electricity blackouts.


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