India – at Least 20 Killed in Mumbai Landslides and Floods

Heavy Monsoon rainfall in western India has caused widespread damage and triggered flash floods and several landslides in part of the country’s largest city, Mumbai.

Rescuers in Mumbai after landslide and rain caused houses to collapse. Photo: Maharashtra NDRF Maharashtra

Mumbai International Airport recorded 235 mm of rain in 24 hours to 18 July, 2021, while the weather station at Mumbai-Colaba recorded 197 mm. Surrounding areas of Maharashtra state have also seen heavy rainfall, including Ratnagiri which saw 256 mm of rain during the same period.

Officials reported several homes were destroyed in the Mumbai suburbs of Chembur and Vikhroli as a result of the heavy rain and rain-triggered landslides on 18 July.

Rescuers were working frantically to find survivors. According to the latest assessments, at least 14 bodies have been retrieved from the collapsed buildings in Chembur, while 6 people have lost their lives in Vikhroli. Dozens of people were reportedly injured. Rescue teams fear more victims are likely trapped inside.

In response, the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said he was “saddened by the loss of lives due to wall collapses in Chembur and Vikhroli in Mumbai. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. Praying that those who are injured have a speedy recovery.”

Water supply across wide areas of the city has been disrupted due to the bad weather. According to the city government (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation – BMC) rain and flooding has damaged the Bhandup Water Purification Complex. On 18 July the complex had to be shut down as a precautionary measure. “Efforts to restore Mumbai’s water supply are being made on war footing. We urge the citizens of Mumbai to boil potable water before consuming it, once the water supply is restored,” BMC said.

Heavy rainfall also caused flooding in several areas of the city, disrupting traffic from 16 July. Rail services were interrupted on 18 July.

Some of the more severe flooding occurred along areas of the Mithi River from late 17 July. NDRF teams were deployed to areas along the river in the Kurla neighbourhood to assist with flood damage and mitigation.

July 2005 Floods and the Mithi River, Mumbai’s Open Drain

The Mithi river will be forever associated with the floods of 26 July, 2005, which caused widespread destruction and the loss of hundreds of lives in Mumbai.

Much of the flooding in the city occurred along the 18 km long Mithi River. The poor state of the river was blamed by many for exacerbating the flood disaster. The river had long been heavily polluted, at times looking more like an open drain than a river.

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