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At Least 22 Killed after a Building Collapses onto Guests in New Delhi at an Indian Wedding

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This frame grab from video provided by KK Productions shows debris at the site of an accident in Bharatpur District, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 11, 2017. A building wall collapsed onto guests at a wedding in western India, killing at least two dozen people and injuring others, a government official said Thursday. (KK Productions via AP) VOA
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New Delhi, May 11, 2017: A building wall collapsed onto guests at a wedding in western India, killing at least 22 people, police said Thursday.

The hundreds of guests were having dinner or assembling on the outdoor lawns when a strong dust storm blew into the area Wednesday night, forcing people on the lawns to go indoors. Then the 80-feet-long (32-meters-long) wall collapsed onto people inside the wedding hall, Bharatpur District Magistrate N.K. Gupta told reporters.

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Another 28 people were injured and have been hospitalized, police officer Anil Tank told Press Trust of India.

The district is in Rajasthan state nearly 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of New Delhi.

A power outage hampered rescue work. It wasn’t clear if the dust storm was a factor in the collapse.

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Building collapses are common in India, where high demand for housing and lax regulations have encouraged some builders to cut corners, use substandard materials or add unauthorized extra floors.

In 2013, a building being constructed illegally in Mumbai caved in, killing 74 people in the country’s worst building collapse in decades. (VOA)

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Road Traffic Accidents Cause 1.35 Mn Deaths Each Year: WHO

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

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Traffic Crashes, Road Traffic
Two bikes were involved in an accident with a bus that crashed and turned on its roof near the town of Franschhoek, South Africa, March 7, 2015. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for urgent action to put a brake on road traffic crashes that kill 1.35 million people every year, mostly in poor developing countries.

In Geneva, the U.N. agency launched its global status report on road safety 2018.

The report found road traffic injuries to be the leading killer of children and young people aged five to 29 years, with a death occurring every 24 seconds. The report said more than half of those killed are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders and passengers.

Etienne Krug, head of the U.N. Agency’s Department on Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, called these deaths a huge inequality issue.

Traffic Signals, Road Traffic
Traffic and congestion on roads is frequent in all cities of India. Wikimedia

“Low-income countries have one percent of the vehicles in the world and 13 percent of all the deaths; while high-income countries have 40 percent of all the vehicles,” Krug said. “So, that is 40 times more, but only seven percent of the deaths.That is half of the deaths with 40 times more vehicles.”

The report said death rates are highest in Africa and lowest in Europe. Some of the key risk factors include speeding, drinking and driving, and failure to use seat belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints.

Krug said putting the right measures in place will save lives. These include the right legislation and enforcement, creating special lanes for cyclists and improving the quality of vehicles.

Road accidents in India
Road accidents in India. Pixabay

“It is not acceptable that vehicles are being sold in developing countries that look the same as the vehicles that we see here in Switzerland or the U.S. or anywhere else, but that are not,” Krug told VOA. “Because to make them cheaper, they have been stripped of all of their safety features, such as air bags or electronic stability control, etc.”

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

Also Read: HIV Epidemic Spreading Rapidly in Pakistan: WHO

However, it said no such progress has been made in low-income countries where safety measures are lacking. (VOA)