Rain fury, landslides claims 25 lives in Mumbai

Mumbai, July 18 (PTI): Twenty five people died in rain-related incidents as incessant heavy downpour overnight during a major thunderstorm pummeled Mumbai, causing severe water logging and traffic disruptions in the financial capital on Sunday, officials said.
The Western Railway and Central Railway briefly suspended suburban train services in Mumbai after the heavy rains, and many long distance trains were terminated or regulated at various stations, officials said.
Seventeen people died as a compound wall came crashing down on some houses located on a hillock after a landslide, a fire official said.
The retaining wall of the Bharatnagar locality in Mumbai’s Mahul area collapsed at 1 am, the official said. Seven people were injured and taken to nearby Rajawadi hospital, he added.
A civic activist said this is among the 257 hutments that have come up on hillocks in the city. In the last 29 years, 290 people in such localities have been killed in landslides and collapses during monsoon, he added.
Seven hutment dwellers died as six shanties collapsed after a landslide in Mumbai’s Vikhroli suburb at 2.30 am, a civic official said. Two persons were injured and were sent to a nearby hospital, he added.
A 16-year-old boy died after a forest department compound wall collapsed in suburban Bhandup, an official said.
Mumbai recorded over 250 mm of rain in just three hours (between midnight and 3am), touching 305 mm by 7 am on Sunday, a meteorologist said.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said Mumbai was placed under a red alert, indicating heavy to very heavy rainfall with extremely heavy rainfall at isolated locations for the rest of the day.
Images from a doppler radar showed that the thunderstorm had a cloud top height of nearly 18 km (around 60,000 feet), the IMD said.
To put in other words, the height/vertical extent of this monster thunderstorm is approximately twice that of Mount Everest!, tweeted meteorologist Akshay Deoras.
Such thunderstorms are definitely 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 definitely comparable to the one that produced rains on 26 July 2005, he said.
Thunderstorms have already been observed on the following five days in this month: On July 9, 11, 12, 16 and 17, said Deoras, a PhD student in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.
Minister of state for Railways Raosaheb Danve said he will travel by a local train from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in Mumbai to Kalyan in Thane district to review monsoon-related works carried out by the railways.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation asked citizens to boil water before drinking as heavy rains over the last two days had led to flooding in the water purification complex at Bhandup.
The flooding has affected electrical equipment that control the pumping and filtration processes there, one of the major sites of water supply to the country’s financial capital, he said.
The inundation at the complex has affected water supply in most parts of the metropolis, the official added.
Meanwhile, the heavy overnight rains led to Vihar Lake overflowing on Sunday morning, a civic official said.
A BMC statement said the lake, with a storage capacity of 27,698 million litres, is the smallest of the water bodies that are part of the supply mechanism to the metropolis.
Built in 1859, the lake supplies 90 million litres water per day, the civic body said.

PMO announces relief
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.

Maha CM announces Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday expressed grief over the loss of lives in house collapses triggered by landslides following heavy overnight rains in Mumbai and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of each of the victims.
Twenty five people died in house collapse incidents after heavy showers, which caused severe water-logging and disruption of suburban train services and vehicular traffic in the metropolis on Sunday, officials said.
Thackeray spoke to Mumbai civic commissioner I S Chahal and took stock of the rescue and relief operations.
He directed the authorities to ensure coordination among the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), municipal workers, fire brigade and police for rescue operations.
A statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said rhe kin of each of the victims will get an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh and the injured will be treated free of cost.
Thackeray was in constant touch with the civic disaster control room since heavy rains started pounding the city on Saturday night.
The statement said Thackeray has asked the authorities to be alert and keep a watch since the weather forecast has predicted heavy rains on Sunday also.

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