MUMBAI: Sustained heavy downpour since Monday played havoc in Mumbai bringing the city to a screeching halt on Tuesday, even as three people were killed in a landslide in Vikhroli’s Surya Nagar, according to agency reports. In a separate incident, two people drowned in floodwaters in Thane.
“Between 8.30 am and 12 pm today, the city received 85 mm rainfall,” said Sudhir Naik, deputy municipal commissioner. Unofficial estimates peg the overall rainfall at nine times over the average.
Offices were shut early due to the weather, leaving employees stranded without transport.
While most of them decided to stay put at their organisations, thousands were stranded across suburban railway stations as the city’s lifeline was thrown out of gear due to heavy water logging. Around 11.30 am, all three sections of the local trains — the Western, the Central and the Harbour — came to a grinding halt.
Though the city seems to be suffering just as it did after the mega floods of 2005, the residents and administration have learnt some lessons. While around 2,000 people lost their lives in 2005, there were no reports of only five casualties in the current spate of floods.
Also, though the administration missed out on giving sufficient warnings on the rains, they publicised the high-tide warnings well in advance and alerted people accordingly. The power ministry managed to release details of the areas where electricity supply was stopped due to water logging.
Meanwhile, teams of the National Disaster Response Force and city municipal corporation have been put on alert to deal with the flood situation.
The Navy has kept five flood rescue teams and two diving teams ready to render assistance at different locations across Mumbai. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reviewed the situation post-noon Tuesday. “I spoke to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation officials. The civic body has received several complaints of waterlogging and fallen trees. The city police commissioner has informed me that traffic has been diverted at 25 spots due to water logging,” Fadnavis said. Many religious and social service organisations, including the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandals, across
Mumbai, made arrangements for food and shelter for stranded commuters. The state government also shut Mumbai-bound traffic on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway advising people to postpone their visit till further instructions are issued. This was part of attempts to ease pressure on traffic in Mumbai, said the administration. The Maharashtra government also announced that all the schools and colleges in Mumbai will remain shut Wednesday.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said the situation was under control even as its biggest health facility, the KEM hospital in central Mumbai, was flooded and patients from ground floors had to be shifted to upper floors. Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar blamed the heavy downpour for the waterlogging. “All pumps at all the pumping stations in Mumbai are working and that is the reason why the situation is under control a bit,” he claimed.
Traffic jams were reported on all major arterial roads, including the Eastern and Western Express highways, Sion-Panvel highway and LBS Marg as the rains continued since Monday night.
Water-logging was reported in low-lying areas of Parel and Sion as well as Dadar, Andheri, Worli, Kurla and Sakinaka, among others. At least 20 cases of tree falling and one of a wall collapse, were reported at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation disaster management centre till Tuesday evening.