Over a lakh people from 20,000 families have been moved to safety as local residents, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and the Armed forces are pulling out all the stops to rescue those stuck in water-logged areas in Kolhapur and Sangli districts.
The districts are experiencing the worst deluge since 2005.
Sixteen people in five districts — Pune, Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli and Solapur — in western Maharashtra have lost their lives over the past week. Around 1.32 lakh people from these districts have been evacuated till Wednesday, Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said.
Chairing an emergency meeting in Mumbai, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said rescuing women, children and patients was the priority, and directed the administration of the flood-hit districts to make alternative arrangements for food, essential items, and drinking water.
Mr. Mhaisekar said four teams of the Territorial Army are engaged in rescue operations in Kolhapur and one team has reached Sangli. While six NDRF teams are already in action in Kolhapur, six more are on their way by road. One Navy team is in operation in Kolhapur.
“Air connectivity has been established over Kolhapur since Wednesday morning with five more Navy teams to be dispatched via air over the district,” he said.
The deluge has completely thrown State Transport bus services in Kolhapur and Sangli out of gear. With 89 roads in Kolhapur under water, the district is completely cut off from the rest of Maharashtra.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast heavy rain for Kolhapur in the next 48 hours.
“From Wednesday night till forenoon of August 9, we expect heavy to very heavy showers to hit the ghat areas, including Kolhapur,” Anupam Kashyapi, head, weather and air pollution monitoring unit, IMD, said.