India: Heavy rains in western state of Maharashtra triggered landslides, floods, and a building collapse, killing scores of people. Rescuers searched through mud and rubble in a desperate hunt for survivors.
The death toll in several monsoon-related incidents since Thursday has climbed to at least 76, according to the state administration, with scores more others still missing. According to some sources, the death toll had surpassed 100.
“Torrential rainfall in various parts of the state often coinciding with high tides and also discharge from dams led to various regions … getting inundated thereby resulting in floods across multiple districts,” the statement said.
At least 47 people were dead and 53 others were believed trapped beneath layers of mud in hard-hit Raigad, south of Mumbai, where landslides buried dozens of homes.
The Savitri river broke its banks as a result of the rain, rendering Mahad entirely inaccessible by road and forcing frightened inhabitants to flee to roofs and higher levels to escape the rising floods.
The army, navy, and air force are working together to evacuate people who have been trapped by the floods. High water levels and landslides, which blocked highways, notably the major route between Mumbai and Goa, hindered their activities.
In Maharashtra, almost 90,000 people have been evacuated so far.
Following 24 hours of continuous rain, the Vashishti River overflowed, burying roads and houses in Chiplun, a city 250km (160 miles) from Mumbai.
Because of damage to roads and bridges in Chiplun, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said rescue personnel were having difficulty reaching cut-off neighbourhoods.
“We will do whatever it takes to save lives and property,” he told reporters. “This disaster has hit the entire state from Nagpur in the east to Mahabaleshwar in the west. The rains have been unprecedented and we’re facing an unexpected emergency.”
The navy sent seven rescue teams to the impacted regions, each with rubber boats, life jackets, and lifebuoys, as well as specialised divers and a helicopter to evacuate stranded people.
The Indian meteorological service has issued red warnings for many areas throughout the state, suggesting that heavy rain is expected to persist for the next several days.