Heavy rains batter Mumbai yet again; air, rail traffic hit

People walk past a waterlogged street in the rain in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Monsoon season in India begins in June and ends in October. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Updated 20 September 2017
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Heavy rains batter Mumbai yet again; air, rail traffic hit

MUMBAI: Heavy rains battered India’s financial hub for the second time in weeks causing massive disruption at the country’s second busiest airport and forcing authorities to shut down schools and colleges.
Monsoon rains that lashed Mumbai since Tuesday evening delayed services on the heavily-used suburban train network in a city that is home to India’s two biggest stock exchanges and the headquarters of several major companies.
A deluge in Mumbai last month killed 14 people, wrecked homes and caused chaos in the city of 20 million people.
Low visibility, strong winds and slippery conditions caused a SpiceJet flight to overshoot the runway while landing on Tuesday night.
The airline said all 183 passengers on the flight from the northern city of Varanasi were safe, but the incident led to widespread disruption in air traffic.
India’s largest carrier Indigo and rivals Jet Airways and Vistara said they had halted some flights to and from Mumbai due to bad weather and unavailability of runways.
“The main runway has been closed for operations and there are delays in arrival and departure of flights due to fluctuating weather,” said a senior official at the Mumbai airport, adding at least 50 flights had been canceled.
Although Mumbai is trying to build itself into a global financial hub, parts of the city still struggle to cope with annual monsoon rains.
Unabated construction on floodplains and coastal areas, as well as storm-water drains and waterways clogged by plastic garbage have made the city increasingly vulnerable to storms.
Floods in 2005 killed more than 500 people in the city. The majority of deaths occurred in shanty town slums, which are home to more than half of Mumbai’s population.
The education minister of western Maharashtra state, Vinod Tawde, in a tweet on Tuesday advised all schools and colleges in the city to remain closed on Wednesday following forecasts of heavy rains by the weather bureau.


Indonesian agency downplays volcanic eruption

Lava streams down from Anak Krakatoa volcano during an eruption as seen from Rakata island in South Lampung. (AFP)
Updated 19 min 48 sec ago
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Indonesian agency downplays volcanic eruption

  • No one lives on Krakatau, which forms a small island in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, but the peak is a popular tourist spot
  • Indonesia is situated on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", a vast zone of geological instability

JAKARTA: The deadly 1883 eruption of Mount Krakatoa is unlikely to happen again despite the Anak Krakatoa volcanic island showing signs of increased activity, said Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency.
The agency has raised the alert status to the second of four levels since June 18 after the volcano rumbled back to life by spewing ash and lava, prompting officials to declare an exclusion zone within 1 km of the summit.
Anak Krakatoa caused hundreds of mild tremors on Thursday, according to seismographic data from the agency.
“It continues to rumble, and the eruptions are a normal phenomenon,” agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told Arab News on Friday.
“Anak Krakatoa erupts as it continues to emerge higher, but the eruptions are never big since the energy of the magma it expels to the surface isn’t strong,” he said.
“Even though it erupts hundreds of times every day and the alert level has been increased, it’s not dangerous. It won’t cause a tsunami like in 1883.”
The eruption that year caused a 30-meter-high tsunami that killed more than 36 million people and lowered global temperatures by around 1.2 degrees Celcius for five years.
The eruption was so loud that it was audible as far away as Perth in western Australia, which is 3,100 km away, and in Mauritius, which is 4,800 km away.
The volcano erupted 479 times last weekend, gushing plumes of thick smoke up to 800 meters high, and lava was visible streaming down from its summit at night, Nugroho said. The eruptions have so far not affected flights or sea voyages, he added.
The Sunda Strait, where the island is located, is a busy shipping lane and accommodates the 30-km, frequently used ferry crossing between the islands of Java and Sumatra.
Anak Krakatoa is uninhabited, but its 300-meter-high summit is a popular tourist destination. It is one of the 127 active volcanoes — a third of the world’s total — that dot the Indonesian archipelago, and is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, where several tectonic plates meet and subduct, frequently triggering earthquakes and volcanic activity.