News Flash – 5 September 2019

National News



Lakhs Stranded as 206mm Rain in 6 Hours Stops Trains, Paralyses Mumbai City


Mumbai: Six hours of heavy downpour on Wednesday brought the city to its knees, stalling all three major train routes, paralysing traffic and leaving lakhs of commuters stranded. Two BMC labourers at work in water-logged Goregaon died. A seven-year-old boy is feared dead after he fell into an open gutter on a flooded road in Nalasopara (E). The Met department warned of heavy to very heavy rain at isolated places on Thursday. An extraordinary September deluge of 217.4mm, the second highest in a single day in a decade, led to the Mithi river overflowing again and flooded parts of the city. Coupled with a high tide of 4.18m around 3.27pm, it brought the Harbour line, CR Main line as well as the WR to a crawl and finally a halt. The raging river led to the evacuation of 500 residents of Kranti Nagar in Kurla, and 900 more from Bamandaya Pada near Marol in Andheri (E) by fire brigade and NDRF personnel. On Wednesday, from 8.30am to 2.30 pm, the rainfall recorded by IMD Santacruz observatory was 206.6mm—it falls in ‘extremely heavy’ category making it the second highest spell this monsoon season, after the July 1-2 burst of 375mm. IMD Colaba recorded 55.6mm rain.


Clockwise from top: Traffic comes to a standstill on Western Express Highway at Jogeshwari; a woman stranded on a local at the flooded Matunga Road station; pedestrians help a woman stuck on S V Road.



Navi Mumbai experienced over 387mm rainfall in the 32 hours starting Tuesday 8.30am, and Thane got 149mm in 12 hours from 8.30am on Wednesday. Services were first truncated along the Churchgate-Andheri route on WR and suspended on the Vasai-Virar sections. With barely one train running every 30 minutes, weary passengers waited two to four hours in crowded stations, while those on trains were stranded on flooded tracks. On CR, Kurla, Sion and Matunga fared badly. Services resumed on WR in the evening, prompting dangerous tussles to get on board. On CR, many commuters in the lurch prepared to spend the night on platforms as services did not re-start till late night. Tempers flared and protests were reported from some stations like CSMT and Byculla. Long-distance trains were also affected, and trains to Pune have been cancelled for Thursday. As trains halted, people spilled on to the roads, already choked at places due to water-logging, and paralysed traffic. Flooding disrupted traffic along inner roads in Andheri, arterial roads in Dadar-Parel as well as Western Express Highway. Usual trouble spots like Hindmata, Kurla, Khar were submerged.



Over 1,000 People Living along Mithi River’s Banks Evacuated


Mumbai: For the third time this monsoon, residents of Kranti Nagar had to be evacuated as waters from the nearby Mithi river inundated their homes. Families from Bamandayapada in Andheri (E), also right next to Mithi river, too had to be evacuated. For them, it was the second time this monsoon. Manish Valanju, assistant municipal commissioner, said waters of the Mithi river started rising dangerously from 9am onwards. “It was raining very heavily, and the bridge across the river has danger markings on it. Between 9am–10am it had touched three metres, and when it crossed 3.3 metres, we began evacuating people to a nearby school,” he said. As the river waters began to rise, people moved to homes of neighbours, friends and relatives on the upper floors. The evacuation, which started around 11am, continued till late afternoon. The National Disaster Response Force was called in, as also the Navy. “Around 450 people, mostly women, children and senior citizens, had to be evacuated. Most of the men had already left for work,” Valanju said. Rajesh Singh, a resident of Kranti Nagar who lives in higher ground, said water inundated the ground-floor structures. “Many people were reluctant to leave and so just moved to the upper floors,” he said.



Ashraf Azmi, a local Congress corporator, said the BMC since 2007 has spent Rs9,100 crores on improving Mumbai’s drains, but “there is no relief”. A local civic official on condition of anonymity said water in the river at Kranti Nagar does not flow even during low tide. “There needs to be a geological investigation why this is so. Also, at the mouth where the river meets the sea, it is only 100m wide while upstream in BKC it is 200m wide. Water does not flow out smoothly,” he said. At Bamandayapada, Ashok Matekar, a local Sena leader, ensured over 800 people were safely evacuated. His wife is the local corporator. “This is a low-lying area, there are high rises all around and it is right next to the retaining wall. After the wall was built, for many years it did not flood, but this monsoon we have had to evacuate the people twice,” he said. Advocate Godfrey Pimenta, who resides in the Andheri Gaothan, said the area would never flood earlier but this monsoon it has been water-logged. During the day, Aarey Road was shut for traffic as it was flooded.



23 Killed in Blast at Punjab Cracker Unit

Over 30 people were injured in the blast at the illegal factory.



Batala: Twenty-three people were killed and over 30 others injured after a powerful blast ripped apart an unauthorised firecracker factory in Batala, a densely populated residential area in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, on Wednesday. Apart from one of the factory’s owners, most of those killed were workers, deputy inspector-general (border range) SPS Parmar said. A couple of people passing in front of the factory on Batala-Jalandhar Road were also killed in the blast that took place at 3.45pm. Though the exact cause of the explosion was yet to be ascertained, Parmar said a huge cache of firecrackers were stored in the factory, which could have caught fire, leading to the blast. Nearly a dozen fire tenders, along with police and NDRF teams, were rushed to the spot. The fire was later under control.



The explosion was so strong that it was heard from nearly a kilometre away. Window panes of a shopping mall and houses located in a radius of over 500 metre were shattered. The blast also damaged nearby buildings, including a school and gurdwara. Vehicles parked near the factory were hurled into a nearby nullah due to the intensity of the blast. Hundreds of students of the nearby St Francis School had a miraculous escape as the blast took place half-an-hour after classes ended. The condition of the seven injured who are in hospital is critical. People in the neighbourhood said they had submitted several complaints to the Batala administration against the illegal firecracker factory in the residential area. Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of each deceased, Rs 50,000 each for the seven severely injured and Rs 25,000 each for those with minor injuries.



20cm Rainfall Alert in Kodagu; Schools, Colleges closed Today

PROBLEM OF PLENTY: River Cauvery continued to swell after incessant downpour in Madikeri and Kushalnagar.



Madikeri: The Kodagu administration on Wednesday sounded a red alert in the district as very heavy rain is set to pound the region in the next 24 hours. As a precautionary measure, deputy commissioner Annies Kanmani declared a holiday for schools and colleges in the district on Thursday. Kodagu has been witnessing heavy rain since Sunday night. According to the weather forecast released by the Kodagu district disaster management authority, the district is likely to receive over 204.5mm rain on Thursday. River Cauvery continued to swell after continuous rain in Madikeri and Kushalnagar. Farmers fear fresh floods might destroy paddy fields. Villages in south Kodagu, which were hit by floods and landslides last month, are also witnessing continuous rain. Water levels at Lakshmana Theertha, Kakkatpole and Konganpole have increased and residents fear another round of floods. The district recorded 46.07mm rain from Tuesday 8.30am to Wednesday 8.30am. According to officials, the overall rain recorded in Kodagu this year is 2,283.9mm. In the last 24 hours, Madikeri, Somwarpet and Virajpet recorded 55mm, 32.9mm and 50.5mm rain respectively. Over 2,350 cusecs water was released from Harangi Reservoir. The water level in the reservoir stood at 2,858ft against the total capacity of 2,859ft.



Dengue Fangs Sink Deeper into Hyderabad


Hyderabad: The health department’s measures to deal with a possible dengue epidemic notwithstanding, a majority of dengue cases being reported are from core urban areas in Hyderabad. As part of its precautionary plan, health authorities carried out around 800 survey camps, 140 campaigns, 36 school rallies and 123 advocacy meetings over the last three months in a bid to spread awareness on keeping dengue spreading aedes aegypti mosquito at bay. As per official records, over 150 cases were recorded in August alone, the worst, so far, this year. Health authorities, however, claim that the virulence of the virus has come down. June and July were observed as anti-malaria and ant dengue months as part of the government’s monsoon preparedness plan. As per documents from the state health department, “extensive behaviour change (BCC) communication campaign for prevention of malaria and other vector borne diseases” was carried out.



The action plan includes door-to-door visits for active surveillance, awareness drives on personal protection methods and source reduction. According to the plan, if all planned activities, including surveillance and preventive measures are carried out in a timely manner an epidemic can be averted. “Dengue is an urban disease and is increasing in all parts of the country. Despite measures, we can see an increase in the number of cases across the city. In this condition, fogging and anti-larval measures can only be useful to a limited extent and preventive measures on an individual basis is what can help. The disease causing mosquito can breed even in clean water if it stagnates for over 24 hours, which means it can breed inside washed utensils, in the kitchen sink or flower pots,” said an official from the state health department. “Therefore individual awareness has to be focused on a lot more,” pointed out.



International News



2 Indians among 34 dead in California boat fire



California: The commercial diving boat that caught fire in California on September 2 has wrought tragedy closer to home. The daughter and son-in-law of a Nagpur Paediatrician were among the 34 people who died in the fire off Santa Cruz Island. Dr Satish Deopujari’s daughter Sanjeeri worked as a dentist in Stamford in Connecticut. Her husband Kaustubh, originally from Jaipur, was working with a finance company. They married in 2016. “Entire family is in shock. All we know is that the process of DNA mapping is under way. Many things are still unclear,” said Dr Deopujari’s brother Kishor.



Hurricane Destroys Bahamas Airport


Bahamas: An aerial view shows damage caused by hurricane Dorian at an airport in the Bahamas on Wednesday. Rescue crews in the Bahamas fanned out across a landscape of smashed and flooded homes, trying to reach victims of the hurricane. The official death toll stood at seven but was certain to rise. Dorian, meanwhile, pushed its way northward off the Florida shoreline with reduced but still-dangerous 165 kmph winds.

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