Asia-Pacific

Heavy India rains kill 30, cripple Mumbai

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Monsoon rains in India have killed 30 people, many due to wall collapses, and crippled Mumbai.

Monsoon rains have caused wall collapses that killed 30 people in India as a second day of bad weather disrupted rail and air traffic in Mumbai, prompting officials to shut schools and offices.

During every monsoon season, which runs from June to September, India experiences fatal incidents of building and wall collapses as rainfall weakens the foundations of poorly-built structures.

Heavy rain brought a wall crashing down on shanties built on a hill slope in Malad, a western suburb of Mumbai, a fire brigade official said, killing 21 people. More than two dozen people were rescued.

Three people also died when a school wall collapsed in the city of Kalyan, 42km north of Mumbai.

In the nearby western city of Pune, six people were killed in a wall collapse on Tuesday, after a similar incident on Saturday killed 15.

Mumbai is looking to turn itself into a global financial hub but large parts of the city struggle to cope with annual monsoon rains, as construction issues and garbage-clogged drains and waterways make it vulnerable to chaos.

As much as 375mm of rain fell over 24 hours in some areas of Mumbai, flooding streets and railway tracks, forcing the suspension of some suburban train services, which millions of commuters ride to work each day.

About 1,000 people stranded in low-lying areas of the city were rescued after a swollen river began to overflow, municipal authorities said.

As weather officials forecast intermittent heavy showers and isolated extremely heavy rainfall, authorities called a holiday for government offices and educational institutions.

Financial markets were open on Tuesday, though trading volumes were expected to be lower than normal.

The main runway at Mumbai airport, India's second biggest, was closed from midnight after a SpiceJet flight overshot the runway while landing.

The secondary runway is operational, but 55 flights were diverted and another 52 were cancelled due to bad weather.

In 2005, floods killed more than 500 people in Mumbai, the majority in shantytown slums home to more than half the city's population.

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