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Toddlers among dead as monsoon lashes Mumbai

Torrential monsoon rains have brought Mumbai to a halt – destroying homes and leaving thousands of people stranded.

Police say a woman and two toddlers were killed after houses collapsed in the Indian city’s suburbs, while three other people died after being swept away by floodwater.

Commuters in the city of 20 million waded through swirling waist-high waters after the financial hub’s transport network was paralysed – with trains cancelled and bus services suspended.

Footage from one train station showed dozens of people standing on platforms as water gushed on to the tracks.

Flooding in some low-lying areas caused vehicle pile-ups
Image:Flooding in some low-lying areas caused vehicle pile-ups

Many workers had no choice but to stay in their offices overnight, with several companies making arrangements to provide food and bedding for those unable to travel home.

Almost a month’s worth of rainfall fell in a single day, with all schools and colleges remaining shut on Wednesday amid forecasts of further heavy downpours.

Mumbai struggles to cope with monsoon rains every year, prompting critics to accuse the government of poor planning.

The city is increasingly vulnerable to storms because plastic waste is clogging drains and waterways, with unabated construction in coastal areas and floodplains exacerbating the problem.

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Video:Mumbai commuters wade through waist-deep water

Navy helicopters have been kept on standby, with flood rescue teams and divers also ready for deployment.

Over recent weeks, more than 1,200 people have died across India, Bangladesh and Nepal in the worst floods to strike South Asia for years.

India’s monsoon season runs from June to September.

Catastrophic flooding in 2005 killed more than 500 people in Mumbai, and most of them had been living in shantytown slums.

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