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The disaster response force wades in flood waters to rescue those stranded in Maharashtra state
A rescue mission to save those stranded in floodwaters in Maharashtra stateImage: AP Photo/picture alliance
CatastropheIndia

Rescue and recovery underway after India monsoon floods

July 26, 2021

Indian rescue teams are digging through mud and sludge a day after a deluge killed at least 159 people. Goa's Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said it is the worst flooding since 1982.

https://p.dw.com/p/3y3hW

A day after India was slammed by torrential monsoon rains, rescue teams were searching for survivors on Monday as authorities worked to restore power to large swaths of western and southern India.

The western states of Maharashtra and Goa, along with the southern states of Karnataka and Telengana, were most affected by the devastating floods, which killed at least 159 people across India. Monsoon rains triggered landslides and displaced almost a quarter of a million people. Authorities also released dams to prevent overflow.

Extreme weather in India

Roads have also been cut off, hampering rescue efforts.

Western states suffer most damage

The Maharashtra government said 149 people died — mostly in landslides and other accidents related to monsoons — while another 64 were still unaccounted for. According to Goa's Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, it was the worst flooding to hit the state since the early 1980s.

Devastating floods in India

Landslides hampered rescue efforts in the districts of Raigad and Satara, where a senior official told the Reuters news agency that the possibility of finding survivors was unlikely given some would have been trapped under mud for up to three days.

In Satara, 29 people were killed in several landslides.

A search and rescue operation involved digging out after landslides in Mahrashtra state
India's National Disaster Response Force conducts search and rescue operations after deadly monsoon rainsImage: NDRF/Reuters

Search operations were halted in Taliye, a village southeast of Mumbai. There a landslide killed at least 53 people and 17 were still missing.

Chiplun was hit with 24 hours of uninterrupted rain and water levels rose nearly six meters (20 feet).

The Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the degree of devastation was "unimaginable."

Flood waters following torrential monsoons overwhelm the land in the Raigad district of Maharashtra
An Indian Navy photograph shows the extent of the flooding in the Raigad district of MaharashtraImage: Indian Navy/AA/picture alliance

One shopkeeper told Indian broadcaster NDTV, "The water level reached the ceiling of my shop, there was so much water inside."

Southern India also affected by torrential rains

Authorities in Karnataka said nine people were killed and four others are missing. Reuters reported 12 dead in Karnataka and Telangana.

The waters in the main Krishna and Godavari rivers were receding, authorities said.

A spokesperson for the National Disaster Relief Force said, "The focus has now shifted to evacuating the injured and restoring electricity as water levels recede," adding, "The rainfall has stopped in most places and water levels have receded."

While the rains are needed to replenish rivers and groundwater, the monsoons are also destructive and deadly. Experts warn climate change has brought about a more intense annual monsoon season.

ar/aw (AFP, Reuters)

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