Mumbai, Jul 24, 2021: More than 100 people have died and thousands moved to safer locations as heavy rains continue to batter Maharashtra, triggering landslides and floods in several districts.
Maharashtra: NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team carries out rescue and relief operations in the flood-affected lower Chiplun area in Ratnagiri district. pic.twitter.com/abmUZpF3hf— ANI (@ANI) July 24, 2021
Even as the armed forces and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) carry out rescue operations, no immediate relief appears in sight. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert for six districts of Maharashtra, forecasting "extremely heavy" rainfall and recommending preventive actions.
The six districts are: Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in coastal Konkan and Pune, Satara and Kolhapur in western Maharashtra.
On Saturday morning, a passenger train derailed between Dudhsagar and Sonaulim in South Goa after heavy rains and the overflowing of the Vashishti river between Chiplun and Kamathe in Maharashtra.
DEATH TOLL CLIMBS TO 136
At least 136 people have died in rain-related incidents, including landslides and floods, in Maharashtra over the last few days, officials said on Saturday. Most of the deaths are from Raigad and Satara districts, the official said.
The deceased included 38 people who died in a landslide in a village in the coastal Raigad district’s Mahad tehsil on Thursday. The landslide in Raigad district took place near Talai village in Mahad tehsil on Thursday evening. NDRF teams and local officials were engaged in rescue work in Mahad.
Landslides also hit Ambeghar and Mirgaon villages in Satara’s Patan tehsil during Thursday night, burying a total of eight houses, said Ajay Kumar Bansal, Superintendent of Police, Satara rural. Ten persons were also feared trapped after a landslide in the coastal Ratnagiri district. But no deaths have been confirmed in the two incidents by local officials so far.
RAINS TRIGGER FLOODS
In Pune division, 84,452 people, including over 40,000 in Kolhapur district, were shifted to safer places as rains battered the region. The Panchganga river near the Kolhapur city was flowing at a level higher than that witnessed during the peak of floods in 2019, officials said.
As many as 54 villages were completely affected due to the floods while 821 were partially affected, officials said. At least 39 roads, including 10 state highways, are closed for traffic due to the floods in Kolhapur district. As many as 40,882 persons have been shifted from flood-affected areas in Kolhapur district alone.
The official put the death toll in various incidents in Western Maharashtra’s Satara district at 27. Other fatalities included those reported from eastern districts such as Gondia and Chandrapur.
Besides Pune and Kolhapur, the division also includes the districts of Sangli and Satara. Satara is hit hard, especially by heavy rains and landslides.
In Sangli district, over 36,000 people have been shifted to safer places, the officials said.
In Kolhapur district, 11 people, including eight Nepalese workers, were rescued before the bus in which they were traveling was swept away in the flooded Chikodi river.
In another incident in the wee hours of Friday, a Ratnagiri-bound bus of the Karnataka government’s transport service got stranded in water on Kolhapur-Panhala road. All 25 passengers were safely evacuated, the police said.
RESUCUE OPS ON
Rescue teams of the NDRF, State Disaster Response Force and other agencies shifted people to safer locations by Friday evening, the officials said. Rescue teams are also evacuating stranded people using helicopters.
More teams of the Indian Army and Navy will join the rescue work on Saturday.
NDRF teams have been pressed into rescue operations.
The Maharashtra government has, meanwhile, announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of people who have died in landslides triggered by heavy rains in different parts of the state.
A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office in Mumbai said, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who announced the financial assistance, also expressed grief over the loss of lives. The statement said landslides have been reported in ten places spread across Raigad, Ratnagiri and Satara districts. The injured will be treated in hospitals at government expense, the statement said.
As many as 14 NDRF teams have been deployed in the affected areas, the chief minister said.
He said 500 people have been rescued in Chiplun in Ratnagiri district and four relief centres have become operational in the coastal town, around 250km from Mumbai.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also expressed grief over the loss of lives in the Raigad landslide and spoke to the collector about the flood situation on Mahad, the CMO release said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday condoled the loss of lives in the landslide in Maharashtra’s coastal Raigad district and announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased. PM Modi said the situation in Maharashtra due to heavy rains is being closely monitored and assistance is being provided to the affected.