At least 23 people were killed in two separate incidents — a wall collapse in Kurar, and in a car that submerged near Malad subway. Millions of other Mumbaikars spent Tuesday morning salvaging their belongings from flood waters that gushed into their homes in the wee hours, or waiting in public buses and private vehicles as flood waters rose at certain places on arterial roads.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation tweeted requests to citizens to stay indoors considering the situation outside and the forecast for more rains through the day.
In 24 hours ending 8 am on Tuesday, the decentralised weather stations of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation showed an average 329 mm of rain in the western suburbs, 309 mm in the eastern suburbs and 163 mm in the island city areas. Weather stations located in specific localities including Malad, Powai and Ghatkopar showed between 150 mm and 200 mm of rainfall in 12 hours ending Monday 5.30 pm, with very heavy rains continuing to lash the suburbs and the satellite towns of Vasai, Virar, Nallasopara, as well as the further outback areas of Palghar and Dahanu through the night.
While public and private schools and colleges were declared shut for the day in the wee hours of Tuesday, the state government also declared a full public holiday a few hours later. Emergency services would remain operational, government officials said.
Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi told The Indian Express, “We urge people not to step out today. Schools and colleges will remain shut. There is heavy rainfall predicted for today and tomorrow. We will take a call by tonight if schools will be open tomorrow.”
In Kurar’s Pimpripada area located on the fringes of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, at least 16 people were declared dead and others feared trapped in the debris. At least 34 survivors from the site of the mishap were admitted to the Jogeshwari Trauma Centre hospital and to Kandivali’s SHatabdi Hospital. Chief Fire Officer Prabhat Rahangdale told The Indian Express that a total count of casualties would be possible only at the end of the search and rescue operations currently underway. At least one woman and her child were located under a beam and were communicating with firemen, said officials.
Locals said the retaining wall allows no space for rainwater to recede, leading to accumulation of water on one side of the wall, possibly weakening the structure. The shanty towns of Ambedkar Nagar and Pimpripada share the boundary with the forest area beyond.
In Kalyan, the wall of a school collapsed on an adjoining residential structure, killing three persons.
As residents from areas such as Air India Colony, Kalina, Kapadia Nagar in Kurla, Motilal Nagar in Goregaon, Saki Naka, parts of Vikhroli, Ghatkopar, Jogeshwari and Kanjurmarg reported water levels rising to three feet and more in their building compounds and with water rushing into ground floor homes in Kalina and Kurla, the Brihannamumbai Municipal Corporation requested the Indian Navy to help provide assistance to stranded Mumbaikars in Kurla.
“Teams from INS Tanaji and the Material Organisation were immediately activated and were later joined by Naval diving teams. The team from INS Tanaji encountered extreme waterlogging and abandoned vehicles, preventing their own vehicles from reaching the site. The team moved on foot, carrying safety gear including lifebuoys and lifejackets and was able to help elderly women and children to safer areas,” said a statement from the Ministry of Defence.
Among those affected in Kurla was Nationalist Congress Party legislator Nawab Malik who tweeted photographs of his flooded home in the wee hours of Tuesday.
About 1,000 people were shifted to safety with the help of National Disaster Response Force, the Mumbai Fire Brigade, Naval teams and local volunteers. As water levels in the Mithi river rose around 1.30 am, the BMC began to coordinate the evacuation of about 300 families in the Sandesh Nagar and Kranti Nagar slums located along the banks of the river in Kurla. Air India Colony and other parts of Kalina and Kurla were among the worst affected localities in the July 2005 deluge when the city and suburbs received 944 mm of rainfall on a single day. In Thane too, families from the Chikhalwadi area were evacuated as flood waters rose in the area.
As late as 9.30 am, the Kalpana Talkies junction of LBS Marg remains under two feet of water, bringing traffic to a standstill on the arterial road. The area saw long lines of buses and cars, some waiting since 6 am, and haphazard traffic as motorists tried to drive on the opposite direction of the carriageway. In all, 152 BEST buses reported breakdowns while 58 were stranded in flood waters.
Traffic was also disrupted at other chronic flooding spots in the suburbs and the island city, including Hindmata in Dadar, King’s Circle and Kala Nagar junction on Western Express Highway. The Chembur end of the Santacruz Chembur Link Road also saw water logging.
Mumbai rains: All you need to know
Railway commuters on the suburban section as well as long distance trains were stranded through the night and early morning hours as cancellations began to pile up. All three suburban lines were affected, with Central Railway worst hit. Passengers stranded on over a dozen trains bunched between Kurla and Vidyavihar stations past midnight reported that they remained in the trains for hours, with no official updates on whether the services would resume. Well past 2 am, passengers began to alight and walk on the flooded tracks, while those unable to walk or jump off remained seated in the trains until rescue teams of the Railway Police Force and others helped them out around 2 am. The CR services remained affected through Tuesday morning as Sion, Kurla and Thane stations saw tracks still submerged.
By 8.15 am, as water receded a little, Western Railway ran local trains at a frequency of 30 mins between Vasai Road and Virar. Services continued normally between Churchgate and Vasai Road, though with delays.
On the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto (12290), passengers thronged to the lone chai stall at Summit Station near Nashik where the train was stranded for over two and a half hours, since 5.50 am. The train does not have a pantry and passengers began to hoard whatsvere snacks the stall was selling. The train was scheduled to reach CSMT Station by 8.55 am. There is no confirmation on when the train will start, said the ticket collector. “My office has declared a half day since a high tide has been announced but I won’t be able to make it. I have been trying to keep track of news but am not able to access it,” said Ajinkya Gawande, employee with a construction company in Thane. “I had planned two meetings today as I am on a two-day business trip to Mumbai. This week’s schedule was planned and meetings cannot be shifted. This is sure to have implications on my work. I hope the train reaches Thane at leats by noon,” said Nagpur based businessman Atul Joshi.
Those taking flights out of Mumbai made frantic call to the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport but while airlines claimed flights would operate, neither Mumbai Airport International Ltd nor the airlines could predict how long the delays would be. In all, overnight, 55 flights including 26 international flights to Mumbai were diverted. Twenty-Four domestic flights departing from Mumbai were cancelled while four international departures were also cancelled. Eighteen incoming domestic flights and and four international incoming flights were cancelled too.