Saturday, 25 September, 2021
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Maharashtra Floods

People take refuge on roofs

People take refuge on roofs

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MUMBAI: Days after torrential rain triggered floods and landslides across several districts in Maharashtra, killing 138 people and leaving dozens still missing, two national highways remain closed to traffic along with other key roads making it difficult to evacuate people stranded on the roofs of their submerged homes, reports NDTV.

Frightening visuals from the roads outside Sangliwadi village in Sangli district highlight the severity of the situation, including one shot that shows a lorry with water up to the driver’s cabin. Other shots show people now living on the roof of their homes as they wait, anxiously and desperately, for help. Locals told NDTV that while the situation was not quite as grim as the 2019 floods, it was worrying that the water had still not receded, despite little or no rain since yesterday.

NDTV visited the submerged Kasbedigraj village in Sangli. Most of the village has been evacuated and a relief camp has been set up at a nearby college. The Krishna and Warna rivers are flowing over danger marks. In some places water levels have even risen, with heavy rains in catchment areas forcing the release of excess water from dams.

Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil is camping in Sangli to oversee rescue and relief efforts. So far, nearly one lakh people and 30 livestock have been evacuated from there.  Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is likely visit Sangli and Satara districts on Monday.

Other distressing sights include the Sangli-Islampur road. Visuals show what appears to be a massive lake with muddy brown waters but is, in fact, a key road, around which fields of paddy and crops are similarly inundated. The only proof - a lone mile marker with its top sticking out above the water.

Either side of the road, authorities have said, several other villages that have also been completely flooded remain inaccessible. Hundreds of people are still believed to be stuck in such places. Those with brick-and-mortar houses, or who have been able to get to the roofs of such buildings, may have found some respite from the flood’s fury.

The less fortunate are those who were living in mud huts that have been completely washed away.

And it isn’t just the floodwaters people have to contend with. A video from ANI showed a crocodile by the side of a road in Sangli, probably displaced after the rise in water level of the Krishna.

On Saturday, visuals from news agency ANI showed two other villages in Sangli - Tandulwadi and Kanegaon - also completely flooded, and a local said emergency teams had not yet arrived.

Chief Minister Thackeray visited flood-affected Chiplun in Ratnagiri district today. where he met officials to assess the extent of damage and evaluate ongoing relief operations.

In parts of Chiplun, water levels rose to nearly 20 feet (six metres) on Thursday after 24 hours of uninterrupted rain. The water levels have since started to recede, but eight people in a COVID-19 hospital in the region died after power supply to ventilators was cut, news agency AFP said.

Incessant rain on Thursday also triggered three horrific landslides in Raigad district, including one that obliterated Taliye village and killed 37 people. Chief Minister Thackeray yesterday visited the mud-covered and debris-strewn spot where the village once stood, and promised help.

The state government has announced Rs. 5 lakh compensation to the families of those killed and said it will foot the bill for treatment of those injured.

34 emergency teams, including those from the national and state disaster response forces and the armed forces, have been deployed to offer aid and assistance.

Prime Minister Modi, who said he was “anguished by the loss of lives”, and President Kovind have been in touch with the Maharashtra government and Governor BS Koshyari to offer aid.