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Monsoon rains trigger landslides and floods in India's Maharashtra state, leaving at least 112 dead

Saturday July 24, 2021 - 11:42 AEST

At least 112 people have been killed in the western Indian state of Maharashtra by torrential monsoon rains that have caused landslides and flooded low-lying areas, cutting off hundreds of villages.


Parts of India's west coast received up to 594 millimetres of rain over 24 hours, forcing authorities to evacuate people from vulnerable areas as they released water from dams that were threatening to overflow.


"Unexpected very heavy rainfall triggered landslides in many places and flooded rivers," Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads Maharashtra's state government, told journalists.


"Dams and rivers are overflowing. We are forced to release water from dams, and, accordingly, we are moving people residing near the riverbanks to safer places."


The navy and army were helping with rescue operation in coastal areas, he added.


At least 38 people were killed in Taliye, 180km south-east of the financial capital Mumbai, when a landslide flattened most of the small village, Vijay Wadettiwar, a minister in the state government, said.


In nine other landslides in other parts of Maharashtra, 59 people died and another 15 were killed in accidents linked to the heavy rainfall, they said.


Several dozen people were also feared to have been trapped in landslides in the Satara and Raigad districts, said a state government official who asked not to be named.


"Rescue operations are going on at various places in Satara, Raigad and Ratnagiri. Due to heavy rainfall and flooded rivers, we are struggling to move rescue machinery quickly," he said.


Thousands of trucks were stuck on a national highway linking Mumbai with the southern technology hub of Bengaluru, with the road submerged in some places, another Maharashtra government official said.


Meanwhile, hundreds of villages and towns were without electricity and drinking water, he said.


Rivers were also overflowing in the neighbouring southern states of Karnataka and Telangana where authorities were monitoring the situation, government officials there said.


Seasonal monsoon rains from June to September cause deaths and mass displacement across South Asia every year, but they also deliver more than 70 per cent of India's rainfall and are crucial for farmers.


Extreme weather has hit several parts of the world in recent weeks, with flooding in Europe and China and heatwaves in North America adding to worries about climate change. 


Reuters







- ABC, Reuters

© ABC, Reuters 2021

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