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Record-breaking rains in Maharashtra kill 200 people

By Ramola Talwar Badam in Mumbai | July 28, 2005 10:54 IST

Rescuers searched with bare hands on Thursday for survivors buried under debris and rushed aid to villages cut off by record-breaking rains that paralysed Mumbai and Maharashtra, leaving more than 200 dead.

At least 83 people died in Mumbai after being crushed by falling walls, trapped in cars or electrocuted when the most intense rains on record swept through the city on Tuesday and Wednesday. Phone networks collapsed, highways were blocked and the city's airports, among the nation's busiest, were closed.

In the northern suburb of Saki Naka, relief workers and survivors sifted through rubble on Thursday after a small hill crashed on a group of huts, leaving more than 45 peopledead.

"I was scared the hill would fall. I kept telling my cousin, 'lets leave'," sobbed Aslam Khan. "But he wouldn't listen. Now it's too late."

Officials said parts of Mumbai had been hit by up to 94.4 cm of rain on Tuesday, the highest one-day total in India's history. Much of it came over a few evening hours. Photos showed the sprawling city covered with water, with cars choking almost every main road.

On Thursday, workers repaired communication networks that had collapsed across the state and towed away abandoned cars and buses to clear the city's gridlocked highways. Train services had resumed and flights were to begin later in the day.

Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil toldAP that 200 bodies had been recovered in Maharashtra state, and more deaths were feared.

Hundreds of Mumbai residents began returning to their homes early on Thursday in the worst-affected parts of the city's suburbs after spending two nights stranded in offices, buses, cars or trains.

State police officials said rescue teams had begun distributing food packets and water to people marooned in villages cut off by flood waters. They were also recovering bodies floating in the murky swirling water.

Every year, Mumbai comes to a halt for a day or two due toheavyrains, which pound the country between June and September and often leave hundreds dead across India. But this week's downpours left the city paralysed.

"Most places in India don't receive this kind of rainfall in a year. This is the highest ever recorded in India's history," R V Sharma, director of the Meteorological Department in Mumbai, toldAP.

India's previous heaviest rainfall, recorded in the northeastern town of Cherrapunji-- one of the rainiest places on earth -- was 83.82 cmon July 12, 1910, Sharma said.

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Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

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Number of User Comments: 7

Sub: what did you do with that water?

i hear people saying thank god it rained atleast we have water...well let me remind them that they did not use that flood water to ...

Posted by mithil

Sub: Rains

Human death is painful but inevitable,why complain about few hundreds of lost lives,be happy that it rained and we finally have water,if you do not ...

Posted by Rambabu

Sub: Reliance Mobile- the True Friend in need- Thank You

Would like to Thank & acknowledge the support of Reliance India Mobile & Fixed line phones we got during the disastrous rains. Reliance phones were ...

Posted by Anurag k

Sub: Rains in Mumbai!

I stay in Bandra east, one of the worst affected place in mumbai due to the rains. I had to walk from powai to bandra ...

Posted by rajaneesh

Sub: Mumbai rocks

Mumbai still rocks and will be back to normal within a couple of days

Posted by Abhishek


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