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Over 125 Killed After Torrential Rain Causes Landslides In Maharashtra, India



At least 125 people have died in India from landslides and accidents caused by torrential monsoon rain.

Rescue teams in struggled through thick sludge and debris on Saturday to reach dozens of submerged homes, as Maharashtra state is being hit by the heaviest rain in July in four decades, experts say.

Construction workers wade along a waterlogged street following a heavy monsoon rainfall in Mumbai on July 16, 2021. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP) (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Raigad and Ratnagiri region were hit by four landslides claiming 54 lives. Up to 1,000 more people became trapped on top of buildings and vehicles by the flood waters.

Downpours lasting several days have severely affected the lives of hundreds of thousands, while major rivers are in danger of bursting their banks.

In Taliye, about 180 km (110 miles) southeast of the financial capital of Mumbai, the death toll rose to 42 with the recovery of four more bodies after landslides flattened most homes in the village, a senior Maharashtra government official said.

Reuters photographer Danish Siddiqui, right, takes photographs while helping a flood-affected woman who is being evacuated from the upper reaches of Govindghat, India, Sunday, June 23, 2013. Afghan government forces battled Friday to retake a border crossing with Pakistan from Taliban insurgents, and the Reuters news agency said one of its photographers was killed in the area. Reuters said Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Siddiqui, who was embedded with the Afghan special forces, was killed Friday, July 16, 2021, as the commando unit sought to recapture Spin Boldak. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

“About 40 people are still trapped. The possibility of rescuing them alive is thin as they’ve been trapped in mud for more than 36 hours,” said the official, who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

Harsh weather has hit several parts of the world in recent weeks, with floods in China and Western Europe and heat waves in North America, raising new fears about the impact of climate change.

Parts of India’s west coast have received up to 594 mm (23 inches) of rain, forcing authorities to move people out of vulnerable areas as they released water from dams about to overflow.

The hill station of Mahabaleshwar recorded its highest ever rainfall – 60 cm in 24 hours.

“Around 90,000 people were rescued from flood affected areas,” the Maharashtra government said in a statement, as authorities released water from overflowing dams.

Thousands of trucks were stuck for more than 24 hours on a highway linking Mumbai with the southern technology hub of Bengaluru, with the road submerged in some places.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was in anguish over the loss of lives.

“The situation in Maharashtra due to heavy rains is being closely monitored and assistance is being provided to the affected,” Modi said on Twitter on Friday.

In the southern state of Telangana, heavy rain caused flooding in the state capital of Hyderabad and other low-lying areas.

Indian environmentalists have warned that climate change and indiscriminate construction in fragile coastal regions could lead to more disasters.

“The rain fury that lashed Mahabaleshwar … is a strong warning against any more tampering with the ecologically fragile Western Ghats,” environment economist Devendra Sharma said on Twitter referring to the range of hills along India’s west coast.

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