Flood-battered Maharashtra's death toll climbs to 112; as many as 99 missing
Mumbai, July 24, 2021
The death toll in Maharashtra floods increased to 112, while 99 more are missing, the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) said here on Saturday.
In one of the biggest relief operations carried out in recent years, over 1.35 lakh people have been evacuated to safer areas after their homes were submerged in flood waters, in some places up to 20 feet deep.
As many as 58 people have been injured and are undergoing treatment at various hospitals. With rains taking a break on Saturday, the flood-ravaged districts of Maharashtra presented a grim scenario with scores of people grappling to rebuild their lives.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray visited the worst-hit Taliye village near Mahad, where more than 50 people perished under a hillslide on Friday.
According to the SDMA, the towns of Chiplun and Khed in Ratnagiri district were completely inundated with water, both remaining cut off from land routes as the Vashishti river bridge was washed away in the floods.
As unprecedented rains jacked up the water levels to more than 15-20 feet, thousands of people were stranded on rooftops or upper floors of their houses and were seen screaming for help.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) teams were deployed to rescue them while Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters dropped food and medicine packets. Over 1,000 people were evacuated safely.
With a record 110 cm rainfall in the popular hill station of Mahabaleshwar, massive quantities of water rushed to the Koyna dam and Koltewadi dam and their discharges caused the Vashishti river to swell above the danger levels, resulting in floods in the towns and villages on its banks.
There were over a dozen hillslides and landslips in different districts, burying scores with many more reported missing. Efforts are being made on a war footing to rescue them.
The state government has sanctioned Rs 2 crore for relief operations in the affected regions where water levels have started receding and cleaning operations have been taken up.
The worst-hit districts were Kolhapur, Raigad, Sangli, Ratnagiri, Satara, Sindhudurg, Mumbai and Thane, hitting a total of 890 villages.
A total of 25 NDRF teams plus 8 on standby, 3 units each of Indian Army and Indian Coast Guard, 7 of Indian Navy and 1 of Indian Air Force, besides local authorities, are engaged in the rescue operations non-stop for more than 24 hours now.
The SDMA said that with fresh rains starting in the area since afternoon, the authorities are on high alert to prevent any untoward situation while health officials are keeping an eye on the region for possible outbreak of any disease in the aftermath of the floods.