Ns News Online Desk: At least 110 people have been killed in landslides and flooding triggered by heavy rains in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. The rains overwhelmed hundreds of villages, sweeping away houses and leaving residents stranded.
Rescue crews have been racing to evacuate survivors but many people are feared missing. The Indian military has been helping the efforts, which have been hampered by difficult conditions.
The state has recorded its heaviest spell of July rain for decades.
Many factors contribute to flooding, but experts say climate change caused by global warming makes extreme rainfall more likely.
On Friday Indian officials said most of the deaths had been caused by landslides and flooding in two districts.
A landslide flattened the small village of Taliye, south-east of India’s financial capital Mumbai. An official told Reuters news agency at least 42 people had died there.The state’s chief minister, Udhav Thackeray, plans to visit Taliye on Saturday. Mr Thackeray called an emergency meeting on Friday and asked officials to provide aid to those affected.
He said authorities were evacuating people from vulnerable areas as they released water from dams that were threatening to overflow.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “anguished by the loss of lives” and would provide assistance to the affected.
The Indian navy and disaster authorities have been sent to help rescue operations in coastal areas. One coastal district has been completely cut off after bridges and mobile towers in the area collapsed.
Authorities have asked stranded residents to go to rooftops so rescuers in helicopters can spot them.
In Mumbai, two people died and 10 others were injured after a residential building collapsed on Friday. Train services have been suspended and the city’s low-lying areas have turned into flood zones. Weather experts say heavy rains will continue to lash the city over the next few days.
Heavy rains in Mumbai are not uncommon. The city experiences flooding every year during the monsoon season, but the intensity of the rains has increased in recent times. Thousands of people migrate to the city every day in search of jobs. This fuels rapid – and often unregulated – construction, forcing many to live in poor quality buildings.