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Rains ravage Maharashtra, 16 feared dead
June 30, 2007 10:23 IST
Last Updated: June 30, 2007 20:50 IST
Heavy rains pounded Mumbai and several parts of Maharashtra on Saturday killing at least 16 people in separate incidents and thousands had to be evacuated to safer places following flash floods.
The country's financial capital recorded an average rainfall of about 288 mm, the highest this monsoon, with some suburban regions like Vikhroli recording upto 389 mm of rainfall since early Saturday morning, city civic authorities said. The situation could worsen with the meteorological department predicting heavy rains on Sunday.
Several areas in the commercial capital and other parts of the state were waterlogged severely disrupting road, suburban and long distance rail and air traffic for most part of the day, with army and navy teams having to be pressed into service in the city and the Konkan region. Some trains were also cancelled or rescheduled.
At least five persons were killed here, three of whom were washed away in the floods, while neighbouring Thane reported three deaths - which two died due to electrocution.
Asia's largest slums in Dharavi in the city were submerged while there were reports of several wall collapses.
Officials also said there had been four deaths each in Ratnagiri and Satara districts.
About 1,500 people had to be evacuated from their homes in suburban Mumbai from near the banks of the Mithi river as the water rose to dangerous levels, and even the state social justice minister Chandrakant Handore was not spared with his office in suburban Chembur being submerged.
Evacuations were also carried out in the Ratnagiri, Raigad and Sangli districts in western Maharashtra with over 550 persons shifted from their homes.
Secretary for relief and rehabilitation, Ramesh Kumar said, "flood waters across the state including the city were receding, except in parts of Gadchiroli district in Vidarbha."
Rail networks in the city were thrown out of gear with the suburban lines bearing the brunt of the monsoon rains.
Services on the suburban Central Railway and harbour lines came to a halt early Saturday morning after flooding of tracks at several locations.
Railway authorities said that at least 17 outstation trains from the city, including the inter-city trains, had to be cancelled and many rescheduled.
Services on the Western Railways were also affected with trains running up to an hour behind schedule and outstation trains being rescheduled.
Air traffic in the city was suspended for a little over an hour due to poor visibility.
"Most flights operated with a delay of up to 30 minutes in their schedules," a spokesperson for the airport said, adding that authorities had distributed food packets among travellers who were stranded at the airport.
Road traffic in the city was minimal with most office goers preferring to stay at home following warnings by authorities not to venture out unless required.
City municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak said that about 1000 Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai staff were on the streets to deal with the situation, adding that they had also faced a staff shortage after their employees were unable to reach their workplaces on account of rail services being affected.
Severe water logging was recorded at 26 locations in the city including the suburbs of Chembur, Kurla, Bhandup and some parts of central Mumbai and western suburbs.
North western suburbs between Andheri and Borivali also saw their electricity cut-off after power supplier Reliance Energy [Get Quote] decided to shut down the supply as a precautionary measure, Phatak said.