People walk on water-logged railway tracks during rains at a railway station in Mumbai, India, 29 August 2017. Photo: Shailesh Andrade / Reuters

By Rajendra Jadhav and Swati Bhat
29 August 2017

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Heavy monsoon rains brought India’s financial capital to a halt on Tuesday, with authorities struggling to evacuate people with the scheduled high tide adding to the chaos.

Incessant rain flooded several parts of Mumbai and paralyzed train services used by millions of commuters daily, with many stranded at stations and hundreds of others walking home through waist-deep water on railway tracks.

Poor visibility also forced airport authorities to divert some flights while most were delayed by up to an hour.

Thousands, some abandoning their water-logged cars, waded through waist-deep water to reach home after some parts of the city received as much as 297.6 millimeters (11.72 inches) of rainfall. Children were sent home early from school.

Weather officials are forecasting heavy rains to continue over the next 24 hours and have urged people to stay indoors. A high tide at 1105 GMT amid the downpour led to water logging of upto 5 feet in some parts of the city.

The National Disaster Response Force launched a rescue mission with police to evacuate people from low-lying areas but operations were thwarted by the continuous rain.

“The heavy rains, flooding, are delaying our rescue work. Even we are stranded,” said Amitesh Kumar, joint commissioner of police.

People walk on water-logged railway tracks during rains at a railway station in Mumbai, India, 29 August 2017. Photo: Shailesh Andrade / Reuters

Rainwater flooded the King Edward Memorial Hospital in central Mumbai, forcing doctors to vacate the paediatric ward.

“We are worried about infections … the rain water is circulating rubbish that is now entering parts of the emergency ward,” said Ashutosh Desai, a doctor in the 1,800 bed hospital. […]

Unabated construction on floodplains and coastal areas, as well as storm-water drains and waterways clogged by plastic garbage, has made the city increasingly vulnerable to storms. […]

Low-lying parts of the city with a population of more than 20 million people witnesses flooding almost every year but large-scale flooding of this magnitude hasn’t been witnessed in recent years. [more]

Monsoon rains bring India's financial capital to a standstill

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