Kolhapur flood: Over 50,000 affected, Navy teams mobilised
(Photo by Handout / INDIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY / AFP)

Kolhapur/Sangli: Five rescue teams of the Indian Navy have been mobilised to provide assistance to those affected by heavy rains in Maharashtra's Kolhapur and Sangli districts, an official said on Wednesday. Kolhapur and Sangli have been the worst affected by heavy rains in western Maharashtra in the last few days.

Three villages, having around 7,000 people, in Kolhapur were marooned due to the floods, even as over 50,000 people were evacuated from the two districts on Tuesday.

"In response to the state administration's request for assistance to local populace affected by heavy rains in the area, five teams of the Western Naval Command have been mobilised," a defence spokesperson said.

The rescue teams were initially planned to be airlifted to the locations, but the adverse weather did not permit helicopter flying, he said. "The teams then proceeded to Pune by road overnight, equipped with rescue gear and rubber inflatable boats, and will be airlifted to the affected areas," he said.

Five additional flood relief teams of the Navy are being prepared to be airlifted to the affected areas from Mumbai on Wednesday morning, the official further said.

Meanwhile, the Goa naval area has also deployed four teams of divers for rescue operations in Kolhapur.

The rescue teams, along with diving equipment, were flown from INS Hansa Naval air station at Goa on Wednesday morning for Kolhapur airfield, where they will join the other teams from the Western Naval Command, NDRF and the district collector for coordination of rescue work, the official said.

Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar on Tuesday said the flood situation in Kolhapur and Sangli was "critical" as several rivers in the region were flowing above the danger mark. "Three villages in Kolhapur with 7,000 people have been cut off completely and efforts are on to evacuate them," Mhaisekar said.

Around 34 out of 103 bridges in Kolhapur have gone under water due to rains in the past few days, he said. "A total of 12,228 families, comprising nearly 53,582 people, in Pune division have been shifted to safer places," another official earlier said. The administrations of Kolhapur and Sangli have declared a holiday for schools and colleges on Wednesday.

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