Maharashtra: At least 112 dead in rain fury as landslides and floods leave trail of destruction

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By PTI

MUMBAI: The death toll from the torrential rains that battered Maharashtra’s Pune and Konkan divisions over the last three days and triggered landslides in some areas rose to 112 on Saturday, including 52 in the coastal Raigad district alone, the state government said in a release.

As many as 1,35,313 people have been shifted to safer places including 78,111 in Western Maharashtra’s Sangli district followed by 40,882 in Kolhapur district.

The Krishna river in Sangli and Panchganga in Kolhapur are in flood though the rains have subsided, officials said.

As people in flood-hit towns such as Chiplun, Khed and Mahad in Konkan struggled to come to terms with the disaster, the challenge before the administration is to restore water and electricity supply and arrange food and medicines in affected areas.

As many as 41 bodies have been recovered at Taliye village in Raigad where a landslide struck on Thursday.

Several others are still missing, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Konkan) Sanjay Mohite told PTI.

The India Meteorology Department (IMD) said rainfall intensity along the west coast was expected to decrease over the next 24 hours.

Between July 21 and 24, Raigad district reported 52 deaths, followed by Ratnagiri (21), Satara (13) and Thane (12).

Kolhapur reported seven deaths, Mumbai four, Sindhudurg two and Pune one, the release said.

A total of 99 people are missing in these areas, including 53 in Raigad, 27 in Satara, 14 in Ratnagiri, three in Thane and one each in Sindhudurg and Kolhapur.

At least 53 people were injured in rain-related incidents.

As many as 3,221 cattle also perished, including 3,024 in Satara district and 115 in Ratnagiri, the official release said.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 34 teams for rescue operations in the state, its spokesperson said.

Besides, teams of local administration and the Army are engaged in rescue and relief work.

In Satara district, at least 13 bodies have been recovered from the sites of landslide at Ambeghar and Dhokawale villages, collector Shekhar Singh said.

The landslides had occurred on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday.

President Ram Nath Kovind called Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari during the day and expressed his concern over the loss of life and property in the state due to rains and floods.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh each will be given to the kin of the victims, while the Central government has announced Rs 2 lakh each.

Besides, ration kits including rice, pulses and kerosene will be distributed in affected areas, he said.

The Maharashtra government was coordinating with the neighbouring Karnataka to ensure timely release of water from Almatti dam so as to ease the floods in the Kolhapur district which is upstream of the reservoir, he said.

As landslides proved fatal in many parts of the state, the government would come up with a plan to permanently relocate people living in hilly areas, said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

He was speaking to reporters at Taliye village, the site of the deadliest landslide.

“People living on hill slopes and hilly areas would be shifted and relocated.

A plan would be made to shift small settlements from such places,” he said.

Two more landslides took place in the Raigad district, while three took place in Satara district including the one at Ambeghar village.

“Flooding is witnessed in Western Maharashtra during monsoon due to rise in water level of rivers.

Hence, a policy would be formulated for the management of water in this region,'” the chief minister added.

“You will be taken care of. Don’t worry,” Thackeray told the villagers.

In Ratnagiri district, towns of Chiplun and Khed were among the worst-affected by the floods.

“Schools as well as some private properties are being used as shelters as well as primary treatment centres for the injured. The real challenge is identifying and tracing missing people,” a senior official of the NDRF said.

State minister Uday Samant said water has receded from some areas of Chiplun town, but some parts are still inundated.

The topography of Chiplun town is like a bowl, said a district official.

“In the past, locals have seen roads going under water when it rains heavily. But this time it was different. In many places, the water level was higher than 14 feet, submerging entire houses,” he said.



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