Mumbai, July 2, 2019: At least 16 people were killed as heavy rain pounded Mumbai and its surrounding areas overnight, flooding the airport and paralysing local trains, the lifeline of India’s commercial capital.
The city received the heaviest rain over a 24-hour period in a decade. The weather office has sounded a red alert for Mumbai on July 2, warning of more rain. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was seen monitoring the situation from the Mumbai civic body’s control room.
The Indian Navy has deployed several teams to assist the civic body to help people stranded in flooded areas.
Several suburban and long-distance trains have been cancelled after railway tracks were flooded. 52 flights have been cancelled and 54 diverted because of bad weather and the skidding of a SpiceJet plane last night while landing in rain forced a shutdown of the main runway at the airport.
“Our team is trying their best to bring the main runway back in operation and this may take upto 48 hrs,” the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport officials posted from its Twitter handle.
Amid prediction of heavy rain on July 2, Maharashtra has declared a public holiday in Mumbai and adjoining Thane, with the chief minister urging people to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary.
“Due to heavy rain forecast in Mumbai even today by IMD, People are advised to stay indoors unless there is any emergency,” Fadnavis’s office tweeted. The state government said that barring emergency services, all government offices will remain closed in Mumbai. While all schools and colleges are closed today, private firms have asked employees to work from home.
The flights are diverted to Ahmedabad, Goa and Bengaluru. Late July 1, a SpiceJet plane from Jaipur overshot the runway during landing at the Mumbai airport amid heavy rain. No one was injured. The plane is still stuck on the runway. A secondary runway one is being used for flight operations after the main runway was closed.
Western and Central Railway have tweeted updates of train lines that are functional. Passengers of three suburban trains who were stranded on flooded tracks were evacuated by Railway Protection Force (RPF) staff late night.
On July 2, a compound wall crashed in Mumbai’s Malad East killing 13 people and critically injuring four. A 10-year-old girl was trapped under the debris, setting off massive rescue efforts. In neighboring Thane’s Kalyan, three, including a three-year-old boy, were killed after the wall of a school crashed on two houses. The government has announced a compensation of 500,000 rupees to the families of those who died in the Malad wall collapse.
Mumbai’s streets regularly flood during the monsoon, which runs from June until September or October. Almost every monsoon, the city struggles to cope with the chaos caused by the rain.