More than 130 dead in India as rains trigger floods, landslides

At least 130 people have died in the west Indian state of Maharashtra, authorities said Saturday, after torrential monsoon rains caused landslides and flooded low-lying areas, cutting off hundreds of villages.

At least 38 people were killed in Taliye, 180 kilometers (110 miles) southeast of the financial capital Mumbai, when a landslide flattened most of the small village, state government officials said. The death toll also includes 27 reported deaths from Satara district in the last 48 hours, a representative from the state’s Disaster Management, Relief & Rehabilitation department said.

More than 10 people are feared trapped after a landslide occured in Ratnagiri district on Friday, he said.

As of Saturday morning, over 90,000 people have been evacuated from affected areas to safety as heavy showers continued to wreak havoc, he said.

The National Disaster Response Force, the Indian Army, Coast Guards, Navy, Air Force and state authorities have all been deployed as part of the rescue effort. The representative added that major damages have been reported in all three coastal districts of Raigad, Satara, and Ratnagiri.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday issued a red alert for six districts of Maharashtra, forecasting “extremely heavy” rainfall and recommending preventive actions. The official said that districts Kolhapur and Sangli are still on alert, Reuters reported.

Parts of India’s west coast received up to 594 millimeters (23 inches) of rainfall 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 river banks to safer places,” he 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, state government officials 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 neighboring southern states of Karnataka and Telangana where authorities were monitoring the situation, government officials there said.

Reported from New Delhi, India

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