Rest of Asia

India: 4 killed as heavy rains batter Maharashtra, thousands marooned in coastal areas

Filed on July 22, 2021
People at a seafront in Mumbai. Photo: AFP

Long-distance trains disrupted as traffic at a standstill on major highways.

At least four persons were reported killed as torrential rains pounded Maharashtra on Thursday for the second time in five days, hitting the coastal Konkan and western parts severely, officials said.

Though Mumbai was spared mainly, heavy rains lashed the coastal districts of Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and the western districts of Satara, and Kolhapur.

Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Parbhani, and Solapur also saw torrential rains. The state deployed forces, and Indian Coast Guard boats, helicopters and Indian Navy teams were on standby.

Several towns and cities like Bhiwandi, Badlapur, Ulhasnagar, Kalyan, Dombivali, Chiplun, Khed, Sawantwadi, Mangaon, Mandangad, Kudal, Mahad, and others were inundated in three to six feet water and even higher in low-lying areas.

Floodwaters rushed into shops, offices, homes and ground floor flats, while around half a dozen homes were damaged or collapsed, many big and small vehicles were fully submerged or washed away, as people were trapped in their homes for hours.

The latest disaster came as the state was barely recovering from the Sunday floods, claiming more than 33 lives in Mumbai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region areas.

Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said that two reserve force teams rushed to rescue people stuck in floods in Chiplun to safer locations, as Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray directed officials to prevent any loss of lives.

Several big and small rivers, dams, lakes, ponds and other water bodies in these districts were above the danger levels or overflowing. The situation worsened with dams discharging excess waters, inundating roads, railway lines, bridges, agricultural farms, and fields.

Traffic was at a standstill for several hours on the Mumbai-Goa Highway, and disrupted on the Mumbai-Nashik highway, the Western Ghats, and other state highways.

Long-distance trains on the Central Railway network were disrupted in Thane, Nashik, Pune, Kolhapur and other sections with trains stranded on flooded railway tracks. Stranded passengers were taken in buses to safer locations, and food was provided to them.

Several parts have recorded unprecedented rains in the past 24 hours, with Mahabaleshwar hill station notching 480 mm, the highest in 45 years, and Matheran recording 330 mm rains.

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