Heavy monsoon rains have brought Mumbai to a halt for a second day as the worst floods to strike South Asia in years continued to exact a deadly toll, the Guardians reports.
More than 1,200 people have died across India, Bangladesh and Nepal as a result of flooding. At least six people, including two toddlers, were among the victims in and around India’s financial capital.
The rains have led to flooding in a broad arc stretching across the Himalayan foothills in Bangladesh, Nepal and India, causing landslides, damaging roads and electric towers and washing away tens of thousands of homes and vast swaths of farmland.
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says the fourth significant floods this year have affected more than 7.4 million people in Bangladesh, damaging or destroying more than 697,000 houses.
They have killed 514 in India’s eastern state of Bihar, where 17.1 million have been affected, disaster management officials have been quoted as saying. In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, about 2.5 million have been affected and the death toll stood at 109 on Tuesday, according to the Straits Times. The IFRC said landslides in Nepal had killed more than 100 people.
The IFRC – working with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and the Nepal Red Cross – has launched appeals to support almost 200,000 vulnerable people with immediate relief and long-term help with water and sanitation, health and shelter.
Streets in Mumbai have turned into rivers and people waded through waist-deep waters. On Tuesday, the city received about 12.7cm of rain, paralysing public transport and leaving thousands of commuters stranded in their offices overnight.
Poor visibility and flooding also forced airport authorities to divert some flights while most were delayed by up to an hour.
The National Disaster Response Force has launched a rescue mission with police to evacuate people from low-lying areas but operations were thwarted by the continuous rain. Although Mumbai is trying to build itself into a global financial hub, parts of the city struggle to cope during annual monsoon rains.
Floods in 2005 killed more than 500 people in the city. The majority of deaths occurred in shanty town slums, home to more than half of Mumbai’s population.
The meteorological department warned that the rains would continue for the next 24 hours.
People on social media have been offering help to strangers who have been stuck at various locations.
The education minister has asked all schools and colleges in the city to remain shut on Wednesday.
The flooding led to some power outages in parts of the city and the municipal corporation warned of more such cuts if water levels continued to rise.