India monsoon rains kill dozens; Mumbai at standstill

World Today

Heavy downpours and flooding had brought parts of India to a standstill. The monsoon season had hit Mumbai, a city of 20 million people, especially hard.

More than 30 people were killed, with most of the victims in Mumbai. CGTN’s Rebecca Bundhun reported how the city is coping from the heaviest rainfall in more than a decade.

Battered by heavy monsoon rains, a wall in a Mumbai slum collapsed, claiming lives of impoverished people living there. The incident followed two days of torrential rain. Officials said it was the heaviest rainfall the city had seen in a decade. “When the nearby drainage canal overflowed, the water pressure led to the collapse of the wall. I’ve just come from the hospital,” an eyewitness said.

The rains had brought huge disruption to India’s financial capital. The state government declared Tuesday a public holiday and people were advised to stay indoors. Schools were closed and a lot of shops were shut, as many people didn’t venture into work. Flights and trains were cancelled and delayed. Many roads were waterlogged.

Teams worked to clear the water and people were moved from low-lying areas to safety. The monsoon season had only just started in Mumbai. It usually lasts until September. Given the chaos it already caused, people were worried about the impact it will have on the city over the coming months and they questioned whether authorities could do more to prepare for the annual monsoon rains.

Many say poor construction and infrastructure are putting people’s lives at risk. “Every year it is heavy rainfall and every year the situation is getting worse,” one city resident said. “We are expecting a better situation from our government to do something, clean the gutters.

Floods claim hundreds of lives every year in India. The state government says the recent rains were “unprecedented. “Whether it’s the police department or the disaster management department – which is under the Mumbai municipal corporation – they are fully alert and on the streets helping people,” Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister of the Maharashtra state, said.

With further heavy rains forecast for Mumbai this week, authorities said they are fully prepared. But the city was bracing itself for further disruption.