89,000 rendered homeless in flood-battered Maharashtra

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, State Disaster Management Authority, Maharashtra

As rains finally took a break, the flood-ravaged districts of Maharashtra presented a grim scenario with over 89,000 people evacuated and only beginning to grapple with the idea of how to rebuild their lives, officials said here on Saturday.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray left Mumbai by helicopter to Raigad and then by road to survey the worst-hit Taliye village, near Mahad, where more than 50 people perished under a hillslide on Friday.

According to the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), the towns of Chiplun and Khed in Ratnagiri district were completely inundated with water, both remained cut-off from land routes as the Vashishti River bridge was washed away in the flood.

As unprecedented rains jacked up the water levels to more than 15-20 feet (or, two-three floors of buildings), thousands of people were stranded on rooftops or upper floors and were seen screaming for help.

The NDRF and ICG teams were deployed to rescue them while the IAF choppers dropped food and medicine packets, and over 1,000 were evacuated safely.

With a stupendous record 110-cms rainfall in the popular hill stations of Mahabaleshwar, massive water rushed to the Koyna Dam and Koltewadi Dam and their discharges caused the Vashishti River to swell above the danger levels, resulting in floods in the towns and villages on its banks.

There were over a dozen hillslides and landslips in different districts burying scores and many more reported missing and efforts on a warfront are on to rescue them from the slush and stones.

The state government has sanctioned Rs.2-crore for relief operations to the affected regions where water levels started receding and cleaning operations have been taken up.

The SDMA today pegged the current official death toll at 76 besides another 59 missing and 38 injured in the floods, hill-slips, landslides, and other rain-related tragedies.

The worst-hit districts were Kolhapur, Raigad, Sangli, Ratnagiri, Satara, Sindhudurg, Mumbai, and Thane, hitting a total of 890 villages.

A total of 25 NDRF teams plus eight on standby, three units each of Indian Army and Indian Coast Guard, seven of Indian Navy, and one of Indian Air Force, besides local authorities, are engaged in the rescue operations non-stop for the past over 24 hours.

The SDMA said that with fresh rains starting in the area, the authorities are on high alert to prevent any untoward situation while health officials are keeping an eye on the region for a possible outbreak of any diseases in the flood aftermath.


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