INDIA. Mumbai: Over 25 people died and nearly 10 people were injured in separate incidents of landslides and wall collapses, even as a thunderstorm and incessant rains lashed Mumbai and adjoining areas on Sunday.
The rains since Saturday night caused severe water logging and disruption of suburban train services and vehicular traffic in the financial capital on Sunday.
At Bharat Nagar at Mahul, near Chembur in North East suburbs, 17 people died and 7 people were injured, when a retaining wall came crashing down on some houses located on a hillock after a landslide. The injured people were taken to nearby Rajawadi hospital, a fire official said. Two women stood on a wooden ladder in their shanty for over two hours out of the fear of getting electrocuted after a wall near their locality collapsed.
Seven hutment dwellers died as six shanties collapsed after a landslide at Surya Nagar in Vikhroli in North East Mumbai in the early hours of Sunday. Two persons were injured and were sent to a nearby hospital. Similarly, a 16-year-old boy died after a forest department
compound wall collapsed in Bhandup suburb in North-East Mumbai. The Mumbai fire brigade and the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) were engaged in a rescue operations.
A civic activist said that the hutment at Surya Nagar, is among the 257 hutments that have come upon hillocks in Mumbai. In the last 29 years, 290 people in such localities have been killed in landslides and collapses during monsoon, he added.
The state cabinet minister Nawab Malik, said that “we will take the decision to shift the people who are living in a dangerous situation to permanent settlements immediately,”.
The Western Railway and Central Railway briefly suspended suburban train services in Mumbai, after the heavy rains, and at least 9 long-distance trains were terminated or regulated at various stations. Before the pandemic, both the Central Railway and Western Railway used to ferry over 75 lakh commuters a day in over 3000 suburban train services which are now allowed only for emergency services staff and government employees.
Several low lying areas including Central Mumbai and Central and Western suburbs were flooded. The Hindmata area at Dadar East was flooded despite installation of pumps by the BMC to drain out water. The flooding brought the vehicular traffic to a standstill.
Water purification plant flooded
The flooding in BMC’s water purification complex at Bhandup, affected electrical equipment that controls the pumping and and filtration processes, eventually affecting water supply to certain areas. The Vihar Lake supplying potable water to Mumbai began overflowing on Sunday. The Vihar Lake, with a storage capacity of 27,698 million liters, is the smallest of the lakes that are part of the supply mechanism to Mumbai.
Mumbai and adjoining areas received over 120 mm rainfall in the preceding 12 hours on Sunday. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert for Mumbai, in the backdrop of heavy rains. Alerts by the IMD are colour-coded from green to red. A ‘green’ alert stands for ‘no warning’: no action needs to be taken by the authorities, and the forecast is of light to moderate rain. A ‘red’ alert stands for “warning”, and asks authorities to “take action”. An orange alert indicates that the authorities are expected to be prepared.
Mumbai would continue to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places with extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places, on Monday the IMD said. Extremely heavy rainfall means precipitation of more than 204.5 mm in 24 hours, while heavy rainfall ranges between 115.6 mm to 204.4 mm rainfall, as per the IMD.
“Such thunderstorms are uncommon for Mumbai or the west coast during an active phase of the monsoon and in a month like July. The cloud top height of this monster thunderstorm is comparable to the one that produced rains on July 26, 2005,” a weather expert said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish at the loss of lives caused by wall collapse incidents in Mumbai. His office also announced Rs. two lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. A sum of Rs.50,000 would be given to the injured. “Saddened by the loss of lives due to wall collapses in Chembur and Vikhroli in Mumbai. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. Praying that those who are injured have a speedy recovery,” Modi said.
President Ram Nath Kovind also expressed grief over the rain-related deaths in Mumbai. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray expressed grief over the loss of lives and announced an ex-gratia of Rs.5 lakh for the kin of each of the victims.