India

Mumbai: Heaviest rain in decade triggers chaos

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Media captionMumbai: Deadly floods bring India's financial capital to standstill

Heavy rain has caused at least 18 deaths and triggered massive rail, road and air transport disruptions in India's financial capital Mumbai.

The victims died when a wall collapsed on them in the early hours of Tuesday after persistent rainfall for two days.

Authorities have declared a public holiday on Tuesday and have requested people to stay indoors.

Met department officials have confirmed that this is the heaviest rainfall in the city for a decade.

Experts have blamed rapid construction and bad urban planning for what many call Mumbai's annual rain chaos.

The victims were mostly labourers working at a construction site in the suburban area of Malad. Authorities said the wall had weakened after several days of rainfall.

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Media captionBBC Weather's Nick Miller looks at the torrential rain and flooding in Mumbai.
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Image caption At least 15 people were killed when a wall collapsed during the torrential monsoon downpours
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Many parts of Mumbai are heavily flooded

The city has witnessed continuous rain in the past two days, causing flood-like situations in many areas.

Officials have requested people to be cautious.

Railway officials have also announced that the suburban rail network, which is known as the city's lifeline, will not be running on several routes, with officials from the central railways - one of the three main lines in the city - calling it "nature's fury".

Aviation authorities have also shut down the main runway at Mumbai's international airport after a plane skidded off the runway while landing amid a heavy downpour. Officials said no passengers were injured in the incident.

Mumbai, which is the financial capital of India, has the second busiest airport in the country.

So far, more than 50 flights have been diverted with at least another 50 cancelled.

The second runway continues to be in operation but several flights are likely to be delayed or cancelled.

The city's low-lying areas have turned into flood zones and residents are being forced to stay indoors.

Some have blamed the city's civic authorities for not preparing for the heavy rainfall.

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Image caption The city's low-lying areas have turned into flood zones
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Thousands of people migrate to the city every day in search of jobs which fuels rapid construction

Mumbai was also brought to a halt in 2017 as well when heavy rain lashed the city. And it witnessed one of its worst disasters in 2005 when at least 900 people died in rain-triggered floods.

Thousands of people migrate to the city every day in search of jobs which fuels rapid construction, which is very often unregulated. Many areas in the city have ageing drainage systems and that causes flooding as well.

Meanwhile, at least nine people have died in other parts of Maharashtra state, taking the overall death toll to 27.

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