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Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
India monsoon deaths rise to 800
Mumbai monsoon

The number of people killed in record monsoon rains in and around the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) has risen to more than 800.

Rescuers are still searching for survivors and authorities are racing against time to prevent diseases.

Late on Thursday 22 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 returning to normal but many villages are still cut off.

Rumour-mongering

Authorities in the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, fear the death toll could rise further.

Senior relief official, Krishna Vatsa, said bodies buried by landslides were still being recovered.

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

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh toured the area on Thursday and said he was "deeply pained by this human tragedy".

The federal government has given Maharashtra seven billion rupees ($162m) in aid.

More than 300 of those killed died in Mumbai, 22 of them crushed to death in the stampede in the suburban shantytown of Nehru Nagar, in the north-west of the city.

Police there have arrested 17 people for alleged rumour-mongering.

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

A second false rumour on Friday of an approaching cyclone forced Mumbai police to use loudspeakers to tell residents not to pay heed.

Weather officials said the rainfall in Mumbai on Tuesday - more than 65cm (26 inches) - was the heaviest recorded in India's history, causing havoc in a city known for its inadequate infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the state government said it was racing against time to prevent epidemics that could be caused by the large amounts of debris and animal carcasses.

The home ministry says the carcasses of 17,000 goats and 1,000 buffaloes and cows are strewn in the city's western and eastern suburbs.

Medical teams are going door-to-door to distribute medicine and the government has asked Unicef to help distribute medicine in rural Maharashtra.

Mr Vatsa, the relief official, said: "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."

Cut off

Rescuers are still trying to find survivors in rubble in 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 40 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.

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.

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 and the Stock Exchange has reopened.




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See the devastation caused by the floods



SEE ALSO:
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


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