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112 killed as rain havoc continues in Western Maharashtra

Vijay Pande is consoled by his relatives as he cries after the body of his 7-month-old boy was recovered at the site of a landslide at Mahad in Maharashtra’s Raigad district on July 24, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The death toll in the torrential rain that deluged Konkan and western Maharashtra rose to 112 on Saturday. Over 99 are still missing. Water discharge from dams led to floods in Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara. Over 1.3 lakh people have been shifted to safer places as rescue work continued throughout Saturday.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted gradual reduction in rainfall over the region in next four to five days, though severe weather and intense rainfall is forecast in isolated places.

Apart from the 17 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in the State, eight extra teams were called in from Bhubaneshwar. In addition, rescue teams from the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force have been working in to evacuate people.

CM visits Taliye

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday visited Taliye village in Mahad tehsil of Raigad district, assuring rehabilitation of the affected villagers. Around 36 dead bodies have been found at the village while 34 persons are missing, according to the NDRF. However other reports put the number of dead at 49 and those missing is 52.

State Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad announced that the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) will rebuild the Taliye village as promised by Mr Thackeray. A fund of ₹2 crore has been provided to Raigad district from the department through the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

“The tragedy that befell on you is huge. So, you first look after yourself and stay safe and leave the rest of the problems to the government. You will be taken care of, don’t worry,” said Mr Thackeray told the villagers who had surrounded him during his visit.

“It’s been observed that the rainy season now starts with a cyclone and then followed by heavy rainfalls. No matter how many alerts are predicted, the intensity of the rain and the location of a cloud burst can never be predicted. Hence, given the current conditions of natural calamities, it is important to look into proper water management of the dams and water reservoirs and hence a policy would be formulated for water management,” he added. A total of 52 people have lost lives in Raigad district alone.

Overflowing dams

Satara district in western Mahrashtra has also been hit by the deluge. The famous hill-station of Mahabaleshwar received more than 1,100 mm of rainfall in less than 48 hours, resulting in heavy discharge from the Koyna dam, one of the largest in the state. The heavy rainfall has caused multiple landslides. Four villages from Patan tehsil — Mirgaon, Ambeghar, Humbarli, Dhokavle — and two villages in Wai tehsil — Kondavli and Mojezor — reported landslides.

The NDRF said 10 persons were missing in Mirgaon while six bodies have been recovered in Ambeghar and eight persons are missing. “People here cultivate rice on hill-slopes and relatives had come at many houses to help the families. We are not sure how many more are trapped inside,” said State minister Balasaheb Patil.

In Ratnagiri district, towns of Chiplun and Khed were flooded due to discharge from the Koyna dam and subsequently the Koltewadi dam, leading to the rising levels in the Vashisti river. Thousands of people were stranded on roof tops and upper floors of the houses as the water levels rose to over 15 to 20 feet in many places.

Helicopters of the Air Force were also deployed for rescue and air dropping of food and water packets. Relief camps were set up at three locations. One column of the Army and Coast Guard teams were despatched for relief work. Five bodies were recovered at Posare village in Khed while 12 are missing, said NDRF sources.

Rivers in Sangli and Kolhapur district too are flowing above danger mark due to discharge from Koyna dam. The State disaster control room informed that since the Almatti dam downstream is also discharging water helping to control the situation. NDRF and Army teams are being deployed to rescue people.

(with inputs from Raina Assainar)


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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 12:55:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/maha-death-toll-in-rain-related-incidents-in-flood-hit-raigad-reaches-112/article35507026.ece

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