As rains finally took a break, the flood-ravaged districts of Maharashtra presented a grim scenario. Over 89,000 people were evacuated over the past few days, and they are only beginning to grapple with the idea of how to rebuild their lives, officials said on Saturday.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray left Mumbai by helicopter to Raigad, and then travelled by road to survey the worst-hit Taliye village, near Mahad, where more than 50 people perished under a hill-slide on Friday.
According to the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), the towns of Chiplun and Khed in Ratnagiri district were completely inundated with water, and both remained cut-off from land routes as the Vashishti River bridge was washed away in the flood.
As unprecedented rains jacked up the water levels to more than 15-20 feet (or, two-three floors of buildings), thousands of people were stranded on rooftops or upper floors, and were seen screaming for help.
The NDRF and ICG teams were deployed to rescue them while the IAF choppers dropped food and medicine packets, and over 1,000 were evacuated safely.
With a stupendous record 110 cm rainfall in the popular hill station of Mahabaleshwar, massive water rushed to the Koyna Dam and Koltewadi Dam, and their discharges caused the Vashishti River to swell above the danger levels, resulting in floods in the towns and villages on its banks.
There were over a dozen hill-slides and landslips in different districts, burying scores while many more were reported missing Efforts on a warfront are on to rescue them from the slush and stones.
The state government has sanctioned Rs 2 crore for relief operations to the affected regions, where water levels have only now started receding and cleaning operations have been initiated.
The SDMA today pegged the current official death toll at 76 besides another 59 missing and 38 injured in the floods, hill-slips, landslides and other rain-related tragedies.
The worst-hit districts were Kolhapur, Raigad, Sangli, Ratnagiri, Satara, Sindhudurg, Mumbai and Thane, hitting a total of 890 villages.
A total of 25 NDRF teams plus eight on standby, three units each of Indian Army and Indian Coast Guard, seven of Indian Navy, and one of Indian Air Force, besides the local authorities, are engaged in the rescue operations non-stop since the past 24 hours.
The SDMA said that with fresh rains starting in the area, the authorities are on high alert to prevent any untoward situation, while health officials are keeping an eye on the region for possible outbreaks of any diseases in the flood aftermath.
The above article has been published from a wire agency with minimal modifications to the headline and text.