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India: 25 dead in Mumbai landslide caused by heavy rain

July 18, 2021

Dozens were buried underneath the rubble of collapsed houses. Rescue workers raced to find survivors, and retrieve bodies despite continuous rainfall.

Rescue workers search for survivors after a residential house collapsed due to landslide caused by heavy rainfall in Mumbai
Rescue operations in Mumbai were hampered by heavy rainfallImage: Niharika Kulkarni/REUTERS

At least 25 people in Mumbai were killed and many others injured on Sunday when several houses were crushed by a collapsed wall and a landslide triggered by heavy rain, authorities said.

As many as 11 incidents of houses or walls collapsing and landslides were reported in the Mumbai area within the past 24 hours, officials said.

Early Sunday morning, a falling tree demolished a wall in the eastern Chembur district of India's financial capital, burying nearby residents, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said.

Rescue workers had recovered 19 bodies from the rubble and were searching for more survivors and bodies believed to be trapped underneath the debris.

In another neighborhood in the city's northeast, half a dozen shacks located at the base of a hill were hit by a landslide, collapsing on top of each other, the NDRF said. Six people were killed, it added.

Rescue operations were underway in both areas, but were stymied by the incessant downpour and difficult access to the congested localities where heavy equipment was needed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the deaths and announced financial compensation for those injured and families of those killed. 

Heavy rains likely to continue

The weather office has forecast "moderate to heavy rain or thundershowers" for the next two days.

Several areas of the city have been inundated after heavy rains, crippling train services and road transport, effectively paralyzing daily life in the metropolis, which is home to some 20 million people.

Such scenes are common in Mumbai during the June-September monsoon, as the old foundations of poorly built structures often buckle under days of non-stop rain.

adi/rc (AFP, Reuters, dpa)