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Mumbai hit by heavy flooding

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, August 29, 2011 8:12 EDT
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Heavy rainfall left parts of the Indian financial hub Mumbai underwater on Monday, flooding homes, closing schools and badly disrupting train services.

The Indian Meteorological Department said 178.6 millimetres (7.03 inches) of rain fell in the 24 hours to 8:30 am local time (0300 GMT) in the south of the city, while 232.6 mm was recorded in the suburbs.

Television news channel NDTV reported one person died and two people were injured in a landslide in a northern suburb.

Mumbai has been lashed virtually non-stop since Friday, with more heavy rain and high winds forecast over the next two days before the annual monsoon rainy season draws to a close next month.

Fishermen have been advised not to venture out for the next 24 hours due to rough seas along the Maharashtra state coast to Goa and winds reaching up to 65 kilometres (40 miles) an hour.

Train services were badly hit by the downpours, with the Central Railway only able to operate 10 percent of its 1,573 scheduled daily services, spokesman Male Gaonkar told AFP.

Shuttle buses were replacing trains in some areas while pumps were deployed along tracks to get rid of water, he added.

“It will take a little time to get back to normal,” Gaonkar added. “We have about 3.8 million daily commuters so a substantial number will be affected.”

Some seven million people use the Central and Western railways every day.

Flooding is an annual hazard during the monsoon in Mumbai, particularly in low-lying areas, making roads in some parts impassable and reducing traffic to a standstill in others.

In 2005, more than 400 people died in Mumbai after a record 944.2 mm of rain fell in just 24 hours, causing severe flooding. Neglected drainage and blocked waterways were blamed for contributing to the disaster.

July was the wettest month for 35 years at the Colaba monitoring station in south Mumbai with 1,284.4 mm of rain — 455.3 mm more than average. Santa Cruz, in the suburbs, had 1,362.5 mm, up 666.1 mm, the weather office said.

On Monday, state-run schools were shut and dozens of people evacuated from their homes near the Mithi river as water levels rose.

Fire crews rescued 33 people from a resort on the city’s outskirts when a river burst its banks, municipal authorities said.

But the city’s domestic and international airports were not affected by the weather, although four outbound and two inbound flights from the southern city of Kochi were cancelled, said spokeswoman Anindita Sinha.

Kochi airport was shut after a Gulf Air-operated flight from Bahrain skidded off the runway onto muddy grassland as it landed early Monday.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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