PTI

New Delhi, May 14

Sitting outside Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Mangolpuri area here since Friday night, Suman (name changed) breaks down every now and then as she anxiously awaits an update about the whereabouts of her elder daughter Pooja (19).

Accompanying the middle-aged woman is her younger daughter Pinky (18), her eyes also swollen from crying.

Pooja is among the 29 people who remain unaccounted for after a fire ripped through a four-storey building in outer Delhi’s Mundka on Friday evening. She recently started working with a CCTV camera and router manufacturing and assembling company that operated out of the building.

Pooja was the sole breadwinner of her family, Suman said.

“She used to say you don’t have to work, I will earn money. Her father died in 2012. I used to work as a house help and earn a meagre amount. But since she got the job, she was handling everything,” said a distraught Suman, wiping her tears.

Hearing her mother talk about Pooja, Pinky too broke down and said, “Where is she? We have been sitting here since last night. I have been asking the officials for an update but they have no answer.” Pinky said when Pooja left for work on Friday morning, she could not have imagined that she might not come back home.

At least 27 people were killed and 12 injured in Friday’s fire. Of the deceased, seven have been identified so far, according to police.

The continuous wailing of family members waiting for news about their loved ones is punctuated by announcements about helpline numbers for missing persons. As time passes, hope is fading for these families.

Many cried inconsolably as the hospital staff called them to identify charred remains.

At the site of the fire, Asha’s brother showed her photo to police personnel and pleaded with them to look for her.

“We haven’t eaten anything last since night. Please check once. The family is really worried. Please do something. Just tell us whether she is alive or not,” said Veerpal (24).

Veerpal told PTI that he learned about the fire from the news and rushed to the spot with Asha’s husband. Asha’s phone remains switched off.

Meanwhile, the rescue operation at the Mundka building has been completed.

Delhi Fire Services Director Atul Garg said they recovered some more charred remains on Saturday morning and the death toll could rise to 30.

He said it was difficult to identify whether the remains were of one person or more.

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