NEWS

Five Dead As Mumbai Records Highest Rainfall In A Single Day In August Since 1997

More rain is expected on Wednesday.

30/08/2017 8:42 AM IST | Updated 30/08/2017 9:20 AM IST
Shailesh Andrade / Reuters
A passenger bus moves through a water-logged road during rains in Mumbai, India, August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

Five people have died since Tuesday when torrential rains in Mumbai and neighbouring cities caused flooding and house collapses. Mumbai recorded 298 mm of rainfall on Tuesday, the highest in a day in August since 1997, according to data from the India Meteorological Department.

The Santacruz weather station gauged a whopping 298 mm of precipitation. This was second only to 346.2 mm of rainfall registered on August 23, 1997, the data showed.

The IMD's Mumbai unit has data on rainfall since 1974.

The figures recorded at the Santacruz weather station in the suburbs represent the overall figure for Mumbai. The department also has a station in Colaba, which is representative of south Mumbai.

"Today's rainfall was extremely heavy. Rains are likely to be heavy tomorrow as well and may abate by late afternoon," Ajay Kumar, director, Regional Meteorological Centre, Mumbai, told PTI on Tuesday.

"We are closely watching the rainfall and its pattern. People are surprised as heavy rainfall in Mumbai is generally witnessed during June and July."

The IMD said the well-marked low pressure area over the Mumbai region is likely to be upgraded to "depression", which would mean more rains.

Death Toll

Three people, including two minors, were killed in two house collapse incidents in suburban Vikroli in the wake of torrential rains that lashed the megapolis, police said.

In the first incident in the hilly Suryanagar area, a house at a higher level collapsed on one below, trapping a one-and-a-half-year-old infant, Nikhil, 40-year-old Suresh Arjun Prasad Mourya and Kiran Baby Pal (25), a senior police official said.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Indian people wade along a flooded street during heavy rain in Mumbai, India on August 29, 2017.

They were taken to a nearby civic hospital where Nikhil and Mourya were declared dead before admission, the official said.

At Varshanagar hill area of Vikroli Parksite, a protective wall collapsed on a house, killing two-year-old Kalyani Jangam on the spot, he said. Her parents Gopal Jangam (36) and Chhaya Jangam (30) suffered injuries.

They have been admitted to a hospital, the official said.

Another woman and her teenaged daughter reportedly died in Thane in rain-related incidents.

Irate Commuters

Mumbai commuters, stranded due to non-functional railway lines and traffic snarls, blamed the administration for not taking adequate measures to ease the situation on time.

Moiz Udaipurwala (30), a media professional working in suburban Andheri, said trains came to a halt in the afternoon, as a result of which, there was no scope for him to reach his house at Reay Road.

"Though our office allowed us to go home early, there was no scope for us to leave as the trains were not operating. To add to our woes, there was a massive traffic jam on the Western Express Highway. We did not want to risk staying outdoors while it was raining. Thus, we had no option but stay back at the office," he told PTI.

Sonali Thakker, a banking professional, alleged that the taxi drivers cashed in on the administration's failure and charged exorbitant fares.

"Firstly, it was nearly impossible to find a taxi. Those available asked for almost double the regular fare to take me from Churchgate to suburban Ghatkopar," she said.

Shekhar Sarkar, a lawyer, said he would have not had to spend the night in his office had the government taken adequate measures.

"The government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are well aware that the city faces a flood- like situation every year. Yet, no measures are taken to address the problem permanently. Had the government ensured that the railway tracks did not get submerged, thousands would have had nothing to worry about," he said.

Asfiya Contractor, a lecturer of a city college, said she left home at 8 am like any other day and had not expected that it would rain cats and dogs.

"I decided to leave my workplace as it began to pour.

With no cabs and autorickshaws available and those out on the streets fleecing the commuters, I was stranded at Matunga for nearly two hours.

"After a lot of hassle, I got an autorickshaw and then got stuck in a traffic jam for another three hours while travelling a small distance from Matunga to Bandra. Each year, the rains create havoc in Mumbai and yet the BMC and state government seem to be indifferent towards the civic issues," she said.

Limping Back To Normalcy

Rain-hit suburban train services in Mumbai are slowly limping back to normalcy with the first train chugging out of the Churchgate station around midnight.

This was after traffic on the Western Railway suburban network had come to a grinding halt earlier on Tuesday due to the torrential downpour.

The first train left Churchgate in south Mumbai for Virar at 2358 hrs, the Western Railway tweeted.

"Evacuation of all stranded passengers is priority and trains will be run throughout the night, if required," it said.

Mumbai's suburban train network, which carries over 65 lakh passengers a day, is the lifeline of the financial capital and halting of the services had led to inconvenience to many office-goers who had braved the heavy rains to make it to their offices.

There was, however, no clarity over the fate of the trains of the Central Railway, which originates from the Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.

The CR tweeted around 11:30 pm that services on the Thane-Kalyan line, which is a section on the main line, had resumed.

Patients Bear The Brunt

Meanwhile, patients at the King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital bore the brunt of incessant heavy downpours that battered Mumbai and adjacent areas today, civic officials said.

Television channels showed rainwater flooding the medical facility's premises in Parel in Central Mumbai.

The flooding forced doctors to shift the patients in the paediatric ward on the first floor and to the second floor, they said.

The hospital is run by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

The heavy rains lashing Mumbai have led to cancellation of the of a senior Australian minister to the city, authorities said today.

Australian Minister's Visit Cancelled

Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo was scheduled to visit the BSE and the BSE Institute here tomorrow to promote Australia-India investment and education ties but it has been cancelled due to the "inclement weather conditions" in Mumbai, the Australian Consulate here said in a release.

Ciobo was to ring the opening bell of the BSE before addressing students from the BSE Institute and meet its leadership to highlight the growing interest of Australians to invest in India, the release said.

Ciobo's visit was scheduled to highlight existing partnerships between Australian and Indian education institutions and also interact with BSE Institute students pursuing higher studies in Australia, it said.

The minister is in India for the 'Australia Business Week in India' (ABWI), an initiative of the Australian government to expand the country's trade, investment and education ties with India.

(with PTI inputs)

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