36 Dead In Landslides In Rain-Hit Maharashtra; Evacuation With Choppers

Raigad-Talai-Landslide

36 people have died in landslides in Maharashtra’s Raigad district as incessant rain continued to batter the Konkan region of the state, leaving thousands stranded in floods and landslides. Helicopters are being used to evacuate people from the flood-hit regions in Raigad, about 70 km from Mumbai. Authorities have appealed to those trapped to go to the rooftops or on heights from where the rescue teams in the helicopters can spot and evacuate them. Maharashtra is witnessing the heaviest rain in July in 40 years.

The deaths happened in three landslides that took place yesterday, with 32 bodies being found in one spot and four others in another location. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who took stock of the situation in Maharashtra, spoke with local authorities today.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed anguish over the “loss of lives” due to the landslide. PM Modi said the situation in Maharashtra due to heavy rains “is being closely monitored and assistance is being provided to the affected”.

In parts of the coastal town of Chiplun in neighboring Ratnagiri district, around 250 km from Mumbai, water levels rose as high as 12 feet following 24 hours of uninterrupted rain that caused the Vashishti river to overflow, submerging roads and homes. The power supply has been snapped in the town and phone connections are patchy. A dedicated Covid hospital was surrounded by floodwaters and patients were seen being rescued in boats.

Two rescue teams from the navy, 12 local relief teams, two from the coastguard, and three from the National Disaster Response Team (NDRF) have been deployed in the inundated areas. The navy deployed seven rescue teams equipped with rubber boats, life jackets, and lifebuoys to the affected areas, along with a helicopter to airlift marooned residents. Specialist navy divers accompanied each team with diving equipment.

The weather office has issued red alerts for several regions in the state, indicating that heavy rainfall will continue for the next few days.

With the rain fury coming amid the coronavirus pandemic, Maharashtra faces a dual challenge of tacking both. The Chief Minister has asked officials to ensure that the treatment of Covid patients and other patients is not affected.