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Floods Kill More Than 1,200 People in South Asia; 32 in Mumbai Building Collapse


A man wades through a waterlogged street following heavy rains in Mumbai, India, Aug. 29, 2017.

Monsoons have flooded parts of India this week, adding to the toll of a season that has killed more than 1,200 people across South Asia.

A 117-year-old apartment building collapsed Thursday in Mumbai, India, killing at least 32 people after days of heavy rains in the city. Officials say at least 15 people were injured when the building caved in in the city’s busy Behendi Bazaar area. A nursery school in the building had not yet opened for the day.

Rescuers pulled several people from the rubble. A police official told reporters nine families had been living in the building.

Rescuers work at the site of a building collapse in Mumbai, India, Aug. 31, 2017.
Rescuers work at the site of a building collapse in Mumbai, India, Aug. 31, 2017.

Heavy rain to ease

Monsoons have flooded India’s commercial capital this week, but forecasters say the heavy rain is expected to ease Friday.

Torrential rains brought the city to a halt Tuesday, making roads impassable and briefly shutting the suburban rail network used by millions of commuters. Thousands were stranded in their offices overnight.

“A journey that usually takes 1 hour, 20 minutes took eight hours that day,” Smriti Verma Anand, a resident of West Bombay, told VOA over a messaging application. “Everywhere there was chaos.”

Throughout the week, Mumbai residents safe in their homes tweeted their locations, often adding whether they had movies or food, offering their homes to anyone stuck in the floods nearby.

“Roadside shops started distributing tea and biscuits and water to people. All the gurdwaras, mandirs and places of worship were opened for people stranded on the road. Common people threw open their doors for anyone and everyone,” Anand said.

Pakistani commuters travel on a flooded street following a heavy rainfall in Karachi, Pakistan, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017.
Pakistani commuters travel on a flooded street following a heavy rainfall in Karachi, Pakistan, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017.

Photos and videos showed cars submerged in water and people wading in waist-deep water around the city. Residents of Dharavi, one of the continent’s biggest slums and home to more than a million people, said much of the area was under water.

A number of flights were forced to divert to other cities this week because the Mumbai airport flooded.

Nearby nations also hit hard

India’s neighbors have also been hit by the monsoon season, which began in June and has affected more than 40 million people.

Karachi, Pakistan, saw heavy rain Thursday, and storms were expected across the country for several days.

Bangladesh and Nepal have also experienced severe flooding that forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

The city of Mumbai struggles each year to plan for and cope with annual rains during monsoon season, which runs from June through September.

In 2005, more than 1,000 people were killed when around 950 millimeters (37 inches) of rain fell in less than 24 hours.

VOA's Chris Hannas and Samit Verma contributed to this report. Some information was provided by Reuters.

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