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At least 32 people are dead as the Mumbai area gets hit by its heaviest rain in more than a decade

Posted at 5:49 AM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 13:32:23-04

Heavy rain has left at least 32 people dead in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, home to the country’s largest city, Mumbai.

More than a thousand residents have been forced to evacuate and some public services have been suspended in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, which is experiencing the worst monsoon season it has seen in over a decade.

Twenty people were killed Tuesday when a retaining wall collapsed onto huts in a settlement in the north Mumbai suburb of Malad, Mumbai’s civic authority said. Three others drowned along flooded roads in the Malad area, disaster management spokesman Tanaji Kamble told CNN.

Six construction workers died in the Pune district early Tuesday when the wall of a college fell on adjoining structures where the laborers were sleeping, a senior local official said.

“The heavy rains uprooted a tree which fell over the wall causing the structure to collapse over the huts,” Naval Kishore Ram, head of the Pune district administration, told CNN.

In Thane district, just outside Mumbai, the wall of a school collapsed on temporary houses killing three people, Prasad Thakur, a spokesperson for the local municipality body said.

Mumbai’s local government declared Tuesday a public holiday as the financial hub continued to be hit by downpours. The Indian Navy deployed teams in the city “to provide relief to rain hit and stranded Mumbaikars,” officials tweeted.

Mumbai airport’s main runway closed Tuesday after an airplane skidded off it, airport officials tweeted. Some train services were also canceled or suspended, tweeted Western Railway, which administers the city railway routes.

In the eastern neighborhood of Kurla, 1,000 people were evacuated as the Mithi River overflowed.

Cars were brought to a standstill Tuesday by yellow-tinged water on waterlogged streets, photos showed. Some streets were so flooded a day earlier that children frolicked in waist-high waters.

Search and rescue operations continued Tuesday at the deadliest wall collapse site as people were feared trapped inside the rubble, Mumbai fire brigade chief Prabhat Rahangdale told CNN. Sixty-eight people injured in the collapse were treated at hospitals, Kamble said.

“Pained to know about the loss of lives in (the) Malad wall collapse incident,” Devendra Fadnavis, the chief minister of Maharashtra state, where Mumbai is located, tweeted. “My thoughts are with families who lost loved ones.”

About $7,260 will be given to the families of each of those who died, he said.

Heaviest rains in a decade

Although Mumbai experiences monsoon season every year, rain on Monday and Tuesday was the heaviest in more than a decade.

In the 24 hours ending Tuesday morning, Mumbai experienced 375.2 mm (14.77 inches) of rain, the highest total in a 24-hour period since 2005, when Mumbai received 940 mm (37 inches) of rain within 24 hours, according to K. S. Hosalikar, deputy director general at the Mumbai unit of the India Meteorological Department.

Although the monsoon is expected to continue over the next few days, it is not expected to be as intense, Hosalikar added.

Monsoon season has been slow to progress across India this year, running about two weeks behind schedule and more than 30% below expected rainfall since June 1 nationwide, according to data analyzed by CNN Weather.