Over 130 dead in Maharashtra rain fury, thousands displaced as rescue operations continue

Published : Jul 24, 2021 17:37 IST

NDRF officials carry out a rescue operation at Chembur, Mumbai on July 18.

NDRF officials carry out a rescue operation at Chembur, Mumbai on July 18.

At least 130 people died and thousands were displaced in rain-related incidents across Maharashtra during the past one week. As the monsoon continues to rage, the State witnessed relentless downpours that caused flooding in the interiors and landslides along the coast. While the coastal Konkan and Mumbai belt receives torrential rainfall at this time of the year, the interior regions have experienced a particularly heavy and unnatural monsoon this time around.

Tragedy struck Mumbai first, when 22 people died in the Chembur and Vikhroli areas on July 18 after incessant rain caused a landslide down a hill in Chembur on which their hutment was located. A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) statement said the soil began slipping after a wall of one hut collapsed. As the incident occurred early in the morning, people were sleeping and many were either trapped or buried alive in the soil.

According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), on July 18, Mumbai recorded an average rainfall of 156 mm in the island city, 143 mm in the eastern suburbs and 125 mm in the western suburbs. Though the daily average monsoon rainfall in the city in July is usually in double digits, varying from 30 mm to 70 mm, such deluges are not unusual. The India Meteorological Department stated that Mumbai had recorded 958 mm so far in July 2021, which is well above its 840.7 mm average for the month.

Between July 22 and 24, about 60 people lost their lives in the Raigad, Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur regions. In an unfortunate incident, the tiny village of Taliye in Mahad (Raigad district) was almost wiped out when a major landslide buried 35 houses. The death toll is yet to be ascertained. According to State government reports, as many as 54 villages were severely affected due to flooding and another 821 were partially hit.

While 14 teams belonging to the NDRF, Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy are working on rescue operations, some remote areas have been difficult to access due to the unrelenting rain. The government said they would work through the night to rescue people. Meanwhile, drinking water and food for the displaced and those stranded has been provided.

In Kolhapur district, train services and road traffic on highways had to be suspended for short periods due to floods. Close to 6,000 people were stranded due to the stoppage of trains. As the rain showed no signs of letting up, 40,882 people in the district were shifted to safer areas. Additionally, 40,000 were evacuated from Pune district.

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