Torrential rains kill over 160 in India, dozens trapped in landslides

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Mumbai

Rescue teams in India were digging through thick sludge and debris on Monday to find over 60 people trapped in landslides caused by torrential monsoon rains that have so far claimed more than 160 lives four days.

The western states of Maharashtra and Goa, as well as Karnataka and Telangana in the south are the most affected by heavy rains that have flooded croplands over thousands of hectares and forced authorities to move over 230,000 people to safer places.

In Maharashtra, 149 people have died mainly in landslides and other monsoon related accidents, while another 64 are still missing, the state government said in a statement

“We are trying hard to rescue people trapped under landslide debris in Raigad and Satara but the possibility of evacuating them alive is remote.

They are trapped under mud for more than three days,” said a senior official with the state government, referring to two badly affected districts.

Rescuers couldn’t reach affected villages quickly because approach roads were cut off by overflowing rivers and landslides, officials said.

Rescuers waded through waist-deep mud in western India Monday to reach injured residents and start a massive clean-up after heavy monsoon rains triggered landslides and floods that killed 159 people.

India’s western coast was hit by severe rainstorms over several days, with a quarter of a million people evacuated from their homes in three states and power cut across vast areas.

Experts say climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of the annual deluge — which is critical to replenishing rivers and groundwater but also causes widespread death and destruction.

“The focus has now shifted to evacuating the injured and restoring electricity as water levels recede,” a National Disaster Relief Force spokesperson told .—AFP

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