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Floods Kill More Than 1,200 People in South Asia

Esha Sarai - VOA - August 31, 2017 3:18 PM

Monsoons have flooded parts of India this week, adding to the toll of a season that has killed more than 1,200 people across South Asia.

A building collapsed Thursday in Mumbai, India, killing at least two people and trapping around 30 others after days rain in the city.

Rescuers pulled several people from the rubble. A police official told reporters nine families were living there.

Monsoons have flooded India's commercial capital this week, killing 14 people. Forecasters said more heavy rain is possible in the region Thursday.

Torrential rains brought the city to a halt Tuesday, making roads impassable and briefly shutting the suburban rail network used by millions of commuters. Thousands were stranded in their offices overnight.

"A journey that usually takes one hour 20 minutes took eight hours that day," Smriti Verma Anand, a resident of West Bombay, told VOA over a messaging application. "Everywhere there was chaos."

"I was stuck yesterday, but like the rest of the city we battled it out," Wajihulla Muhammad told VOA of his commute back home from his office in central Mumbai.

"We stood for each other and that is what Mumbai does," he said.

Throughout the week, Mumbai residents safe in their homes tweeted their locations, often adding whether they had movies or food, offering their homes to anyone nearby who was stuck in the floods.

"Roadside shops started distributing tea and biscuits and water to people," Anand said. "All the gurdwaras, mandirs, and places of worship were opened for people stranded on the road. Common people threw open their doors for anyone and everyone."

Photos and videos showed cars submerged in water and people wading waist-deep around the city. Residents of Dharavi, one of the continent's biggest slums and home to over a million people, said much of the area was under water.

A number of flights were forced to divert to other cities Tuesday, as the airport was affected by flooding.

India's neighbors have also been hit by the monsoon season, which runs from June to September, and has affected more than 40 million people.

At least 13 people have been killed by flooding in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, after heavy monsoon rains hit the sprawling metropolis, officials said Thursday. Storms were expected across the country for several days.

Bangladesh and Nepal have also experienced severe flooding that forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

In 2005, over 1,000 people were killed when around 950 millimeters of rain fell in less than 24 hours.

VOA's Chris Hannas and Samit Verma contributed to this report. Some information was provided by Reuters.

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