A child's cry for help from under debris set off massive rescue efforts today morning in Mumbai's Malad East after heavy overnight rainfall led to the collapse of a compound wall on a group of houses. 10-year-old Sanchita's faint voice could be heard calling out for water to drink.
Teams led by the National Disaster Response Force and the Mumbai Fire Brigade are in the middle of an hours-long rescue operation to save the young girl, who is now finally visible under the debris, . .
The rescuers say they are unable to lift the debris without a crane, which they are unable to move into position because of weather conditions and uneven and muddy ground. Instead, they are trying to cut a small section of the wall and clear a path for the girl to escape.
A woman who was also trapped under the debris has been rescued after a 12-hour ordeal. Rescue teams also pulled out the body of an unconscious man.
Nineteen people have been killed after the wall collapsed at 2 am today. The injured have been taken to hospitals in Jogeshwari and Kandivali. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Minister of State for Urban Development Yogesh Sagar visited Shatabdi Hospital in Kandivali.
In another incident, the wall of a school crashed upon adjacent houses in the Kalyan area, killing three people, one of whom was a three-year-old boy. The incident happened early today morning.
Four people trapped were pulled out with the help of local residents, police and fire brigade. A girl who was injured in the incident is undergoing treatment Rukmini Bai Hospital in Kalyan.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the families of those killed in the wall crash. "Pained to know about the loss of lives in Malad Wall Collapse incidence. My thoughts are with families who lost loved ones & prayers for speedy recovery of injured," he said on Twitter.
Mumbai received 540 millimetres of rain in a 48-hour period from Sunday night - the highest over a two-day period in the last decade. The city is set for more downpours in the next 24 to 48 hours. The Regional Meteorological Centre has warned of heavy to very heavy rainfall in Mumbai city and its suburbs.
Private weather agency Skymet said Mumbai is at "serious risk of flooding" between July 3 and 5, warning that "close to 200 mm or more rain per day is likely during this period".
With inputs from ANI