Rescue teams in India are battling through thick mud and debris this Saturday. The death toll from landslides and rains reaching homes submerged has risen to 125.
Maharashtra has received the heaviest rainfall in July in four decades, experts say. 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 the financial capital Mumbai, the death toll rose to 42 as four more bodies were recovered after landslides washed away most of the village’s houses, a senior Maharashtra government official said.
“About 40 people are still trapped. They have been trapped in the mud for more than 36 hours and are unlikely to be rescued alive,” the official, who declined to be named, said he had no authority to speak to the media.
Severe weather in recent weeks has hit many parts of the world, with floods in China and Western Europe and heat waves in North America raising 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 areas that could be affected by the discharge of water from overflowing dams. Mahabaleshwar Hill Station recorded the highest rainfall in its history: 60 cm in 24 hours.
Some areas have recorded the highest rainfall in their history
The official said rescuers were searching for landslides in four other places in the state.
“About 90,000 people have been rescued from the flood-hit areas,” the Maharashtra government said in a statement.
Thousands of lorries were stranded for more than 24 hours on the highway connecting Mumbai to the South Bangalore Technology Center, sinking in highway places.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was upset about the loss of life. “The situation in Maharashtra due to heavy rains is being closely monitored and relief is being provided to the victims,” Modi said on Twitter on Friday.
In the southern state of 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 rage of the Mahabaleshwar rains is a strong warning against further manipulation of the ecologically weak Western Continuum Mountains,” environmental economist Devendra Sharma said on Twitter, referring to the chain of mountains along India’s west coast.
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