Rescue teams in India struggled through thick mud and debris on Saturday, reaching dozens of submerged homes and the number of accidents caused by landslides and monsoon rains rose to 125.
Experts say the state of Maharashtra will receive the heaviest rainfall in July in four decades. Several days of torrential rains have severely affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of Indians, while major rivers are in danger of overflowing their banks.
In Tali, about 180 km southeast of Mumbai, the death toll rose to 42 with the recovery of four more bodies after landslides hit most of the houses in the village.
“About 40 people are still trapped. They have been trapped in the mud for more than 36 hours and are less likely to be rescued alive,” the official said, as he did not have the authority to speak to the media.
Severe weather has hit many parts of the world in recent weeks, with floods in China and Western Europe and heat waves in North America creating new fears about the impact of climate change.
Some parts of the west coast of India have received up to 594 mm of rain, forcing authorities to evacuate people from vulnerable areas as water is being pumped out of dams overflowing. The Mahabaleshwar Hills recorded the highest rainfall in its history: 60 cm in 24 hours.
Some areas have recorded the highest rainfall in history
Rescue workers are searching for landslide victims in four other parts of the state, the official said.
“About 90,000 people have been rescued from the flood-hit areas,” the Maharashtra government said in a statement, adding that officials had released the overflowing water from the dams.
Thousands of lorries were stranded on the highway connecting Mumbai to the South Bangalore Technology Center for more than 24 hours and the road sank.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was worried about the loss of life. “The situation in Maharashtra is being closely monitored due to heavy rains and assistance is being provided to the victims,” Modi said on Twitter on Friday.
In southern Telangana, heavy rains caused floods in the state capital Hyderabad and other low-lying areas.
Indian environmental activists have warned that climate change and blind construction in vulnerable coastal areas could lead to further disasters.
“The fury of the rains that hit Mahabaleshwar is a strong warning against further manipulation of the ecologically weak Western Continuum Mountains,” environmental economist Devendra Sharma said on Twitter of the chain of mountains off the west coast of India.
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