[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Disease fears after India monsoon
Mumbai monsoon

Authorities in India are racing against time to prevent epidemics as the death toll from a monsoon reaches 800 in Mumbai (Bombay) and surrounding areas.

There are concerns that large amounts of debris and animal carcasses might lead to outbreaks of disease.

Late on Thursday 18 people, including several children, died in a stampede in a Mumbai suburb when rumours spread that a tsunami was about to occur.

Mumbai is slowly limping back to life after heavy rains on Tuesday.

It was reportedly the heaviest recorded rainfall in a single day in India: more than 65cm (26 inches) of rain fell.

'Tsunami rumour'

The stampede on Thursday night occurred in a shantytown in Nehru Nagar, in north-west Mumbai.

Mumbai flooding
This monsoon only proved that there is absolutely no drainage system in the city
Prabhjot Kaur, Mumbai

"People died due to false rumours," RR Patil, the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra state told the Associated Press news agency.

Seventeen people have been arrested by the police for allegedly spreading rumour, the Press Trust of India reports.

Officials say they are struggling to restore calm among the population.

Mr Patil said police vans with loudspeakers had been sent out to prevent similar incidents from taking place.

Meanwhile, a senior relief official, Krishna Vats, said the number of casualties might rise again as bodies buried by landslides are still being recovered.

"We need to restore the water supply and electricity supply and telecommunications and we need to disinfect water - so the hygiene and sanitation are some of the important considerations right now in terms of restoring the situation," he said.

Rescue operations are under way to search for survivors in the rubble of the suburbs.

In northern Mumbai, a whole shantytown was crushed by a hill that collapsed on top of it.

"It was terrible to pull out little babies from under boulders and mud," a firefighter told Associated Press.

"The very young and the old just didn't make it."

Rescuers flagged down private cars to get dozens of injured to hospital, and bodies were loaded onto trucks.

Some villages in the region surrounding Mumbai are still cut off from the rest of the country, and food parcels and water bottles are being airdropped in the affected areas.

Half of the victims so far died in Mumbai.

Those killed in the city were crushed by falling walls, trapped in cars or electrocuted - many of them on their way to work, despite a government warning not to set out the morning after the rainfall.

Many had to spend nights in offices as floodwaters raged through the streets.

The BBC's Zubair Ahmed in Mumbai says that schools and offices have reopened after being shut down for two days.

Mumbai's airports are also again open to traffic.

See the devastation caused by the floods

Maharashtra rains leave many dead
26 Jul 05 |  South Asia
Gujarat monsoon floods kill many
01 Jul 05 |  South Asia
Flood shuts India power project
28 Jun 05 |  South Asia
Indian villagers tame floods
28 May 04 |  South Asia
India's river plans spark furore
19 Aug 03 |  South Asia


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific