Monsoon mayhem: 20 die in Maharashtra rains, Met dept says worst is over

The overnight death toll of three climbed to 15 in the state as Mumbai, hit by torrential showers and flooding, woke up on Wednesday to light rainfall and receding waters. A day earlier, the maximum city was brought to a standstill after receiving more than 300mm of rain.
Local residents in Sion try to clear trees that feel on cars during the downpour on Tuesday.(Kunal Patil/HT)
Local residents in Sion try to clear trees that feel on cars during the downpour on Tuesday.(Kunal Patil/HT)
Updated on Aug 31, 2017 12:04 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | ByHT Correspondents

A well-known doctor has gone missing, possibly fallen into a manhole, while walking home along a flooded road; and a young lawyer, who went to park his car, was found dead in it hours later, apparently trapped as he waited for the flood water to recede.

They are among the 20 people who lost their lives and a few others who are still missing as the deluge on Tuesday drowned Mumbai and paralysed its entire ecosystem.

While authorities showed complete apathy, Mumbaiites rose to the occasion and helped their fellow citizens stay afloat. The fear of the city flooding again remained imminent. What, however, saved Mumbai from another horrific day was that the rain stopped. With heavy showers staying away, water receded from the streets and railway tracks.

However, as the rain stopped, the city slowly and steadily got back on its feet.

The trains, even after 24 hours, were not fully operational through the day.

It was only late on Wednesday that services had been restored on all the lines.

Traffic on the roads had eased, but there were a few bottlenecks, especially on the highways, where people had abandoned cars the previous day and walked to their destinations.

Citizens also assessed the damage caused by the deluge. While several homes and shops in low-lying areas across the city were filled with mud and slush, cars were overturned and seen floating in a river at Borivli.

The authorities rejected the criticism directed towards them and said they had taken enough measures to minimize trouble to the citizens, but the ground reality was entirely different.

Civic chief Ajoy Mehta said Tuesday’s rainfall was “a once in a ten years” kind of downpour, and insisted that the civic body did its best to help the city quickly stand on its feet.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, whose party rules the BMC, blamed the rainfall for the mayhem, pointing out how even Houston in the US was submerged after heavy rain.

Mehta called Tuesday’s phenomena an “extreme weather condition”, where 23 locations in the city received more than 200mm rainfall in an hour and 27 locations received more than 50mm rainfall in an hour.

He said the BMC pumped out more than 10,000 litres of water from the streets of Mumbai on Tuesday, with 7,000 million litres drained using 27 pumps of the five pumping stations, and another 3,700 million litres sucked out using 110 pumps of the 50 sewage pumping stations.

On Wednesday, 28,000 staff from the BMC removed 5,000 metric tonnes of garbage, which was washed in with the flood water.

With no incessant rain on Wednesday, life was expected to be back to normal on Thursday.

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