43 dead as Indian state of Maharashtra hit by heavy monsoon rains

An Indian man stands near his house as waves caused by high tide hits the huts on the shore of the Arabian Sea in Mumbai, India, on July 3, 2019.

An Indian man stands near his house as waves caused by high tide hits the huts on the shore of the Arabian Sea in Mumbai, India, on July 3, 2019.

At least 43 people are dead and another 17 are still missing as heavy monsoon rains continue to pummel the western Indian state of Maharashtra, washing away houses and flooding transport hubs.

Seven people were killed after water gushed from a burst dam late Tuesday, washing away houses in Ratnagiri, a coastal district in Maharashtra, according to authorities.

Maharashtra is home to the country's largest city, Mumbai.


Another 17 are still missing, Anupam Srivastava, the commandant of the National Disaster Response Force.

"Seven villages have been completely inundated and the rescue teams have been moving residents living in these villages to safer places," Srivastava said.

The storm has so far claimed the lives of 43 people across the state. In Mumbai, officials have declared the storm to be the worst the city has experienced in over a decade.

Around 8,000 people living in and around downstream villages in Ratnagiri have been warned about flooding, according to Datta Bhadakawad, a senior local civil administration official.

Heavy rains brought Mumbai to a standstill Tuesday, with roads waterlogged with yellow-tinged water, disrupting schools, government, and transport.

Twenty-four people died after a retaining wall collapsed Tuesday onto huts in a settlement in the north Mumbai suburb of Malad, a spokesperson for Mumbai's civic authority said Wednesday. Three others drowned along flooded roads in the Malad area, disaster management spokesman Tanaji Kamble .

Six construction workers died in the Pune district early Tuesday when the wall of a college fell on adjoining structures where the laborers were sleeping, a senior local official said.

In Thane district, just outside Mumbai, the wall of a school collapsed on temporary houses, killing three people, Prasad Thakur, a spokesperson for the local municipality body said.


Worst rainfall in over a decade

Although Mumbai experiences monsoon season every year, rain on Monday and Tuesday was the heaviest in more than a decade.

In the 24 hours ending Tuesday morning, Mumbai experienced 375.2 mm (14.77 inches) of rain, the highest total in a 24-hour period since 2005, when Mumbai received 940 mm (37 inches) of rain within 24 hours, according to K. S. Hosalikar, deputy director general at the Mumbai unit of the India Meteorological Department.

Mumbai has seen almost 800mm (32 inches) of rain since Friday,

Although the monsoon is expected to continue over the next few days, it is not expected to be as intense, Hosalikar added.

Monsoon season has been slow to progress across India this year, running about two weeks behind schedule and more than 30% below expected rainfall since June 1 nationwide.



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