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India

Updated on: Saturday, July 24, 2021, 11:17 AM IST

At least 136 dead as landslides, flooding affect Maharashtra; rescue operations continue

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Torrential rains over the last few days has left a trail of destruction across Maharashtra. Visuals shared online show vast swathes of land completely submerged by floodwaters, while other areas have suffered landslides and blockages. The death and injuries toll continues to rise, as officials undertake rescue work. Many others remain stranded in various parts of the western state.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will leave for the flood-affected Mahad by helicopter, from Mumbai at 12 pm today. Yesterday he had announced ex-gratia of 5 lakh each for the kin of those who lost their lives in the landslides. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Friday expressed condolences over the loss of lives due to landslides in Maharashtra's Raigad and announced ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday evening issued a fresh 'red alert' for Satara, forecasting "extremely heavy rainfall" in the next 24 hours in the hilly `ghat' areas of this Western Maharashtra district where many remain missing after landslides. The Met department also issued `orange alert' for Pune and Kolhapur districts.

"136 accidental deaths reported in Maharashtra till last evening due to rain and other monsoon-related incidents," confirmed Maharashtra Minister of Relief and Rehabilitation, Vijay Wadettiwar. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from various areas.

A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team carried out rescue and relief operations in the flood-affected lower Chiplun area in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district on Saturday.

The Indian Army has also mobilised teams to Maharashtra under 'Operation Varsha'. A total of 15 relief and rescue teams comprising troops from Aundh Military Station and Bombay Engineer Group based at Pune have been deployed overnight in affected areas of Ratnagiri, Kolhapur and Sangli districts of the state.

In addition to helicopters, India Air Force has deployed one C-17 Globemaster and 2 C-130 Super Hercules to ferry 170 personnel and 21 tonnes of load for NDRF from Bhubaneswar to Pune, Ratnagiri and Goa.

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Transportation of goods was also affected by the downpour as the Konkan Railway route temporarily suspended operations on Friday. As per an update on Saturday morning, train services have now been restored.

Meanwhile, near Sangli and Kolhapur, a large number of goods vehicles remain stranded on the Kolhapur Highway. "We're stuck here since last night. Mobile network affected too. We can't even get tea here," lamented a truck driver.

In Maharashtra's Raigad, excessive rains have triggered landslides, and dozens remain missing. As per the latest update, around 44 bodies have been recovered, while 35 injured individuals are under treatment.

With a total of six locations having experienced landslides, rescue operations continue. According to officials, around 50 others are feared trapped under debris at one location.

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In flood-hit Taliye village, locals have had their houses vanish overnight. "My house is gone. This had never happened before. People had built new houses and had taken loans for them. Everything is gone," a resident told news agency ANI, standing in front of the rubble.

Thackeray will be visiting the area today.

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(With inputs from agencies)

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Published on: Saturday, July 24, 2021, 11:17 AM IST
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