Mumbai rain flood
Commuters wade through a waterlogged street at Parel, following heavy rainfall, in Mumbai, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Image Credit: PTI

Mumbai: Authorities in the Indian city of Mumbai issued a red alert on Tuesday and warned people not to venture out after heavy overnight rain in the financial hub brought flooding and travel chaos.

Some suburbs have seen more than 300mm of rain in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning and more heavy rain is expected over the next two days, said India Meteorological Department (IMD) official K.S. Hosalikar.

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The department issued a red alert for the city for the next two days and civic authorities advised people not to venture out unless absolutely necessary.

Trains, already running skeleton services due to the novel coronavirus lockdown, were suspended in several places because of flooding and traffic was disrupted on some of the city’s main roads.

A landslide swept down a slope onto a main road in a northern suburb, media reported.

commuters wade flood rain Mumbai
Commuters wade through a waterlogged street at Parel, following heavy rainfall, in Mumbai, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. IMD has issued a red alert with forecast of “extremely heavy” rainfall in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Raigad and Ratnagiri districts in Maharashtra over the next 48 hours. Image Credit: PTI

There was no impact on operations at Mumbai’s airport apart from reduced visibility, a representative said.

The city struggles with the monsoon rains every year as widespread construction and rubbish-clogged drains and waterways make it increasingly vulnerable to flooding.

Mumbai is also struggling with a surging coronavirus outbreak with an average of 1,000 new cases being reported every day.

Cargo ship in troubled waters

A dry bulk cargo ship nearly ran aground near the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai on Tuesday morning after the city was lashed with heavy rains overnight, IANS reported.

The ship was noticed precariously close to the rocky shores by Sarosh Bana, a defence expert living at Malabar Hill, and he alerted the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard and other concerned officials.

“I could see the ship in distress, dangerously in the proximity of the shore... at one point, it seemed to have listed and was taking in seawater. Subsequently, the ship apparently lost power and radio contact. Being unable to control itself in the strong waves, it was on the verge of drifting towards the rocky bed or running aground,” Bana said.

Later, around 1pm, when there was a 4.45 metre high tide, the ship appeared to have regained its balance and restored power onboard even as a patrol vessel sent by the shipping authorities managed to reach upto the Prongs Reef to render assistance.

By afternoon, the ship, though struggling in the strong waves, managed to slowly move back and forth under its own power, negotiated the treacherous shoreline and slowly sailed to the harbour at a speed of 4 knots, said a Coast Guard official.

Further details, including the country of origin and owners of the dry bulk cargo carrier, whether it sustained damage in the incident, etc were not available yet.

The incident triggered concerns since the sea route was utilised on two occasions by terrorists to wreak havoc on Mumbai in 1993 and 2008.