INDIA. Mumbai: In a series of disasters, over 70 people were reportedly died in a dozen hill slides, landslides, house-crashes, and other incidents after torrential rains shook Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Satara, and other districts of Maharashtra, with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard rushing to rescue the marooned populace, on Friday.
While a red alert continues to be sounded in five districts of Maharashtra, the neighbouring Goa, Karnataka, and Telangana too came under the rains’ fury with rivers on spate, highways blocked and bridge collapsed.
The Indian Meteorological Department on Friday night forecast heavy rains also in other states including Madhya Pradesh. The all India weather summary and forecast bulletin stated “ Fairly widespread to widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to heavy falls very likely to continue over west coast during 2-3 days with reduction thereafter. Isolated extremely heavy falls likely over Konkan and Goa and adjoining ghat areas of Madhya Maharashtra on Saturday with reduction thereafter and over coastal and south interior Karnataka”.
Heavy rainfall also led to massive water logging, disruption of local train services, and vehicular traffic across several locations in the city and its suburbs, although some of the services on the Central railway were partially resumed late Friday. There was a little let-up in rains in Mumbai city and suburbs. However, reports of mishaps continued to occur from adjoining areas. In Palghar district, two contractual linemen were stuck around 50 feet in mid-air above the swollen Vaitarna river in Manor village while carrying out electrical work. They were stuck for about an hour before being rescued by a National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) team.
Due to heavy flooding and disruption of normal life, even the milk supply was affected. The Kolhapur Zilla Sahakari Dudh Utpadak Sangh (KZSDUS), which owns the milk brand Gokul, on Friday said there will be no supply of its pouch milk to Mumbai on Saturday due to flooding in Kolhapur, Sangli, and other districts of Maharashtra.
The state transmission utility, Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Co. Ltd (MSETCL)’s two 220 VK towers collapsed in the heavy and continuous downpour in Raigad district, resulting in power outages for 80,000 consumers at Mahad and Poladpur. The work of restoration of these two towers was on a war footing, but several households in these two areas faced complete blackout.
Even as the death toll in rain-related incidents rose to nearly 75, in Talai village of Raigad where a landslide occurred on Thursday, nearly 80 people were reported missing. 33 bodies were retrieved and many are still trapped under debris.
The situation in the Sindhudurg district became worst due to a cloud burst. The Tilari river was on the verge of breaching its level of 43.60 meters. The river is part of the inter-state water project between Maharashtra and Goa. The water travels 21 km from Sindhudurg and reaches Goa. The water level of the Terekhol river was also rising, due to which the people were evacuated to a safer place. Many talukas in the Sindhudurg district including Vaibhavwadi and Kanakvali were inundated.
As many as 84,452 people, including over 40,000 in Kolhapur district, were shifted to safer places in Western Maharashtra’s Pune division on Friday as rains battered the region and rivers were in spate, officials said. The Panchganga river near the Kolhapur city was flowing at a level higher than that witnessed during the peak of floods in 2019. The Panchganga river reached the 54 ft mark. The Pune division includes Pune, Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara. Satara.
COVID-19 patients died due to lack of oxygen
At least eight patients reportedly died due to lack of oxygen at a hospital in Chiplun in Ratnagiri district, which was totally submerged in water. According to reports, 21 patients were undergoing treatment in a COVID-19 hospital where some of them were even on ventilators.
Army teams for flood relief
Indian Army mobilized. 15 relief and rescue teams comprising troops from Aundh Military Station and Bombay Engineer Group based at Pune, under ‘Operation Varsha’, for flood relief in affected areas of Ratnagiri, Kolhapur, and Sangli districts. Indian Navy mobilized 7 teams for rescue operations. One Seaking 42C Helicopter from, Mumbai was deployed for aerial reconnaissance at Poladpur/Raigad. Another chopper from Goa was positioned at Ratnagiri.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of people who died in landslides triggered by heavy rains. Similarly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the next of kin. Thackeray in a statement said landslides have been reported in ten places. Poladpur (2 incidents) and Mahad(1) talukas of Raigad district. One each in Khed in Ratnagiri district, Mirgaon, Ambeghar, Humbrali, Dhokwali villages in Patan taluka, and Kondvli and Mojhejor villages in Wai taluka of Satara istrict. President Ram Nath Kovind Friday expressedcondolences over the loss of lives due to devastating floods in Maharashtra.
In Karnatka the bridges in Kodagu, Hassan, Mangaluru, and Belagavi districts, submerged. The swelling Malaprabha, Ghataprabha, Markendeya, and several other smaller rivers that come under the Krishna river basin on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border, flooded several villages, throwing normal life out of gear in 16 villages.
Traffic on the Bengaluru-Mangaluru highway was disrupted at Shiradi Ghat after a portion of a hill collapsed at Marnalli in Sakleshpur taluk in Hassan district. National Highway No.4 turned into a large lake near Sankeshwar. In the Udupi district, nearly 30 houses situated near Someshwara Beach in Uchila, were facing the threat of being washed away in the sea due to coastal erosion.
At Karwar in Karnataka, the Indian Naval Emergency Response Team (ERT) comprising 17 Divers, five Geminis, was deployed, to rescue people stranded near Kadra Dam, Mallapur Kurnipet and Kaiga. The team evacuated over 100 stranded people at Singudda and Bhaire villages. In another mission undertaken at Dongri in Gangavalli river belt, eight personnel stranded in two hotels were air lifted by Naval Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).
In Goa, several parts of the state, including Sattari and Bicholim tehsils in the north and Dharbandora in the south, were reeling under a flood-like situation, where a large number of houses got inundated as the water level of some rivers rose.
In Telangana, at least 16 districts were experiencing flood-like situations due to heavy rains. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao directed officials to be on high alert and monitor the situation minute by minute, as well as ensuring that people living in low-lying areas do not face any hardships.
In the meanwhile due to a low-pressure area over northwest Bay of Bengal and its neighbourhood, widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall is very likely over east and adjoining central India till Saturday.