Toddlers among latest victims of Mumbai monsoon floods

At least 14 more people die as heavy rainfall sweeps India’s financial capital, with over 1,200 killed in South Asia.

Commuters walk through water-logged roads after rains in Mumbai
Commuters walk through water-logged roads after rains in Mumbai [Shailesh Andrade/Reuters]

Two toddlers were among 14 people killed in Mumbai after floods destroyed homes and disrupted traffic in India’s financial capital, police said, but lighter-than-feared rain on Wednesday helped relief efforts.

Police said a 45-year-old woman and an 18-month old child, members of the same family, died after their home in the northeastern suburb of Vikhroli crumbled on Tuesday, while a two-year-old girl died in a wall collapse.

More than 1,200 people have died across India, Bangladesh and Nepal in the worst flooding brought on by monsoon rainfall to strike South Asia in years.

Tuesday’s deluge in Mumbai – nearly a month’s average rainfall in a single day – had halted train services and led to flight cancellations.

More heavy rains had been forecast for Wednesday, forcing the government to order schools and colleges shut, but in many areas, the downpours were lighter.

“The city and suburbs received a few showers in the last few hours but rainfall wasn’t heavy like yesterday,” said KS Hosalikar, a senior India Metrological Department official.

Officials said train and air services were operating normally late on Wednesday in the city, which is home to India’s two biggest stock exchanges and several major companies.

In the neighbouring city of Thane, three people died after being swept away by floods, police added. Some died by falling into open manholes in flooded streets in various suburbs.

‘We can overcome’

Mumbai Police spokeswoman Rashmi Karandikar said seven other people were missing in Mumbai.

In neighbouring suburbs, six people were missing, said a police official, who declined to be named.

The deluge revived memories of the 2005 floods that killed more than 500 people, the majority of them in shantytown slums where more than half of the city’s 20 million people live.

Unabated construction on floodplains and coastal areas, as well as stormwater drains and waterways clogged with plastic rubbish, have made the city increasingly vulnerable to storms.

Residents walk through flood waters in Malda in the Indian state of West Bengal [Diptendu Dutta/AFP]
Residents walk through flood waters in Malda in the Indian state of West Bengal [Diptendu Dutta/AFP]

On Tuesday several firms made arrangements to provide food and rest areas for employees stuck in offices, while officials of temples and religious bodies offered help to those stranded on streets.

“Together, we can overcome any ordeal,” the Mumbai Police tweeted. “Thank you all for showing what humanity is in the face of adversity!”

Elsewhere in India, the eastern state of Bihar was badly hit.

Several villages have been inundated for a month, with people living in makeshift shelters for days amid widespread heavy damage to farmland.

At least 500 people have died there this monsoon season, and around 1.7 million people were reportedly affected by the floods, which are now receding.

“We are hoping for help. Please help us. Our crops are drowning, they have been destroyed. How are we going to live?” said Savitri Mosomat, a farmer.

Raju, another farmer, said: “Floodwaters have completely destroyed our chilli fields. We’re going to pick whatever we have left and feed ourselves.”

Rains lash Pakistani city 

In Pakistan on Thursday, meanwhile, rains lashed the port city of Karachi following days-long downpours in neighbouring India.

At least five people have been killed over the past 24 hours, reports said.

TV footage showed streets that were already submerged after the heavy rains began.

Pakistan’s meteorological department said rains will continue for three days in various parts of Sindh province, where authorities closed schools as a precaution. Karachi is the provincial capital.

Windstorms and rains are also expected in the southwestern Balochistan and eastern Punjab provinces.

The meteorological department says rains are also expected in the capital, Islamabad, and in Pakistan’s portion of Kashmir.

Interactive - Floods in South Asia 2017 [Al Jazeera]
Interactive – Floods in South Asia 2017 [Al Jazeera]

Source: News Agencies