Source Pravda.Ru

99 people killed in India by monsoon rains

Flooding killed 99 people in India's Maharashtra state and paralyzed the financial capital Mumbai for a second day. Record rainfall forced the closure of the airport and train system, used by a third of the city's 16 million people.

Suburban trains and city buses haven't yet resumed full services following a 24-hour shutdown. Flights from Mumbai airport, the nation's biggest, were due to resume at 4 p.m. local time after being suspended late yesterday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told reporters today.

About 6.1 million people ride Mumbai's trains each day, almost as many as travel on all of New York City's subways, buses, trains and ferries combined. The trains connect the suburbs to downtown Mumbai, where the central bank, stock exchange and offices of companies are located.

"We have never had such rains in 100 years," Deshmukh said. "This was the rarest of the rare occasions, and no infrastructure would have been sufficient to deal with it."

Government offices, schools and banks will be closed for a second day tomorrow. The Mumbai stock exchange, which was open today, hasn't announced plans to close.

The benchmark Sensitive Index, or Sensex, rose 0.7 percent to 7605.03, closing at a record for the fourth straight day. The nation's bond and currency markets were closed.

"We told half of our people in the office here to go," said Paresh Nayar, chief currency trader at Development Credit Bank Ltd. in Mumbai. "There's no trading and if the rains continue, it's going to be a bigger problem getting home," reports Bloomberg.

The state-run All India Radio reported about 150,000 people were stranded in railway stations across Mumbai.

Roads were choked all night as tens of thousands of people were stranded, and the two main highways were inundated. The domestic and international airports in Mumbai, among the busiest in the country, were shut down Tuesday evening, and all incoming flights were being diverted to New Delhi and other airports.

"Never before in Mumbai's history has this happened," said Mumbai's Police Commissioner A.N. Roy. "Our first priority is to rescue people stranded in floods."

State police reported new landslides in Maharashtra's Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, and Kolhapur areas. Details weren't immediately available.

Rescuers started arriving Tuesday night in Kondivali village, 95 miles south of Mumbai, hoping to extricate nearly 100 people trapped there, said police officer S. Jadav. At least 30 more people were feared buried in another mudslide in the nearby village of Jui.

India's monsoon rains, which usually last from June through September, claim hundreds of lives every year, according to the Associated Press.

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