At least 136 people have died and more than 90,000 have been evacuated in the Indian state of Maharashtra after monsoon rains hit the area this week, resulting in devastating landslides and floods, authorities said. CNN on Saturday.
Experts say the Maharashtra, one of the most populous states in the country, has not seen such a torrential downpour during the month of July in at least four decades, Reuters reports. As of Saturday, large rivers were still in danger of rising along their banks, while hundreds of villages remained cut off flood waters and debris.
At least 42 people were killed after the landslide on Thursday flattened most of Taliye, a small village about 180 kilometers southeast of Mumbai, a senior Maharashtra government official told Reuters. Dozens of villagers remain unused as National Disaster Response Force teams, the Indian military and state authorities struggle to drown through thick mud amidst relentless rain.
“About 40 people are still trapped,” said the official, who spoke to the branch on condition of anonymity. “The chance of rescuing them alive is slim because they’ve been trapped in the mud for more than 36 hours.”
A spokesman for Maharashtra’s Disaster Management, Relief and Rehabilitation Department told CNN that 27 deaths had been reported from Satar district in the last 48 hours. Rescuers continue to search for the victims of nine more landslides across the country. Great damage was recorded in all three coastal districts of the country, the representative added.
Some regions of the west coast of India received as much as 23 inches (59.4 centimeters) of rain, Reuters reports. Mahabaleshwar, a mountain station south of Mumbai, set a record for the largest amount of rain ever recorded: 23.6 inches (60 centimeters) in 24 hours.
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was anxious about the loss of life and expressed his condolences to the grieving families in Maharashtra.
“The situation in Maharashtra due to heavy rains is being closely monitored and assistance is being provided to those affected,” he said. Twitter.
Seasonal monsoon rains hit the region every year between June and September, but climate scientists warn that rising temperatures as a result of climate change could worsen their impact. A warmer atmosphere can retain more moisture, leading to heavier rains during storms and, therefore, an increased risk of landslides and floods.
“The rage that has gripped Mahabaleshwar … is a strong warning against further interference in the ecologically fragile Western Gate,” said an Indian analyst. Devinder Sharma wrote on Twitter at Friday, which refers to the range of mountains which stretch along the west coast of India.