Friday 12 July 2013

Five dead after landslide at Antop Hill, Mumbai.

Five people have died following a landslide in the Antop Hill area of central Mumbai on Wednesday 10 July 2013. The incident happened at around 7.40 am local time (around 2.10 am GMT), when a large boulder came free near the top of a 20 m slope, tumbling down and striking a series of homes in the process. The five dead have been named as 44-year-old Ramavatar Kevat and his son Sandeep (23), described as an electrician who had been working away for several days, and 25-year-old Sultana Shaikh and her children Arif and Rizwan, both under two years old. Sultana's husband, Salim Shaikh, is being treated in Sion Hospital with a fractured leg. The Shaikh family are said to have moved to Mumbai from Ratnagiri in the south of Maharashtra State 15 days previous to the event.

Rescuers searching for survivors at the scene of the Antop Hill landslide on Wednesday 10 July 2013. Vivek Bendre/The Hindu.

The landslide occurred at a site called Devram Dada Chawl (the term 'chawl' usually refers to a tenement building containing numerous single-room apartments, but in this instance appears to indicate a number of small houses, rented from the owner of the site), which has been struck be several such incidents in the last few years. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has recommended that people vacate the site during the Monsoon Season, but has declined to offer alternative accommodation as they are private tenants.

The approximate location of the 10 July 2013 Antop Hill landslide. Google Maps.

The event took place after a night of heavy rainfall, with 35 mm of rain falling in the hour before the landslide. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall.

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