Flooding and landslides had claimed 969 lives in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra state since the rain began on Monday, with 47 more bodies being recovered overnight from suburban areas and other parts of the state, police and government officials said on Sunday.

The driving rain cut rail and air services, officials said, as the local weather office forecast moderate to heavy rains in the next 24 hours and the authorities appealed to residents not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.

Heavy monsoon showers that brought Mumbai, a financial centre with a population of 15 million, to a near-halt the past week resumed on Saturday after a two-day respite and picked up force on Sunday.

Planes, trains delayed

Incoming flights were routed to nearby destinations while outbound flights were cancelled due to poor visibility caused by the rains. 

Rescue workers are pressing on
with Operation Recovery

Long-distance train services came to a halt.

"Due to rough weather and poor visibility we have decided not to operate any flights from the Mumbai airport," said Sudhir Kumar, director of the Airports Authority of India.

Television footage showed hundreds of passengers waiting at Mumbai's airport.

The airport, India's busiest, had been closed for two days last week due to torrential rains, with flights resuming late on Thursday.

Mumbai received 944.2 millimeters of rainfall in a one-day period ending mid-morning on Wednesday, the most rainfall recorded in a single day in India.

Rescue efforts

Despite Sunday's rain, soldiers, police and rescue workers pressed on with Operation Recovery, using bulldozers, cranes and bare hands to remove boulders and rubble from areas hit by landslides earlier in the week, with scores of people still feared buried.

"The administration is stretched and continuing rains are proving to be a hurdle" 

Johny Joseph, 
Mumbai municipal commissioner

Separately, 130,000 municipal workers were engaged in repairing pot-holed roads and clogged drains and restoring electricity and drinking water services.

Police officials spread out into the city and urged residents to remain home and not to listen to rumours.

"They are telling us not to believe in any false reports and contact them to confirm any rumour that is doing the rounds," said Sanjay Kumar, a resident of the northern suburb of Thane.

Stampede

On Thursday, 18 people died in a stampede created by rumours of storm-created tsunamis.

Officials fear the toll will reach
1000 soon

A total of 10,000 Mumbai residents took to the streets in various parts of the city on Sunday to protest against an acute shortage of drinking water and power blackouts, officials said.

Worst affected was the central area of Kurla, where residents said they had been without power for five consecutive days.

Johny Joseph, the municipal commissioner of Mumbai, admitted "the administration is stretched and continuing rains are proving to be a hurdle" in restoring civic services.
 
"The latest spell (of rains) will definitely hamper our efforts," Joseph said. "But the administration will continue doing our job, and we hope to clear tonnes of garbage piled on the roads by (the end of) Sunday."

Disease concerns

He said all municipal employees have been told to report for duty on Sunday and local authorities were supplying drinking water through tankers mounted on trucks.

"There is a limit to which we can provide drinking water on a continuous basis," Joseph said. "The fire brigade has been put on full alert along with search and rescue teams.

"In this hour of crisis we are trying to do our best. Holidays have been cancelled and everyone is working hard," Joseph said.

Health officials said they were prepared to fight an outbreak of waterborne diseases and were taking preventive steps.

SG Danle, deputy municipal commissioner of Mumbai, said 30,000 health workers were working in the city and suburbs telling people how to prevent outbreaks of disease.