India – Floods Hit Maharashtra and Gujarat, Dozens Feared Dead After Bridge Collapses

Update, 05 August, 2016

Disaster management officials report that 9 bodies have been found at the location of the collapsed bridge on the Savitri River.

Original Report 03, August, 2016

Several days of heavy rain in parts of Western India has resulted in flooding in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Local media report that at least 14 people have died as a result of floods and collapsed buildings in the 2 states.

Disaster officials report at least 20 people are missing after two buses plunged into a river when a bridge collapsed in Maharashtra. The bridge, in Raigad district, collapsed late yesterday, 02 August, as a result of pressure from the fast-flowing waters of the swollen Savitri river.

Maharashtra

Heavy rain has been falling in parts of Maharashtra for several days.

On Sunday 31 July, at least 9 people died after a building collapsed under the heavy rain in Bhiwandi, according to reports.

Since then the rain has continued to fall, affecting the districts of Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Pune, Satara, Kolhapur and Nashik. As much as 216 mm of rain fell in 24 hour in Nashik between 02 and 03 August.

A team from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been deployed to Nashik to carry out rescue and relief operations.

Local media say that water has been released from the Gangapur dam which has in turn increased levels of the Godavari and Darna rivers.

Bridge Over the Savitri River Collapses, 20 Feared Dead

Disaster officials report at least 20 people are missing after two buses plunged into a river when a bridge collapsed in Maharashtra. Indian military personnel, including 16 divers and 2 helicopters, have been deployed to the area to carry out search and rescue operations.

The bridge, which spans the Savitri river and forms parts of the Mumbai-Goa highway, collapsed late yesterday, 02 August, 2016. The bridge is situated in Mahad, Raigad district.

Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister of Maharashtra state, said via Social Media that “The primary reason seems to be the high pressure caused due to flooding of River Savitri due to heavy rains in catchment of Mahabaleshwar.”

The chief minister explained that there were 2 parallel bridges across the river: one is a new bridge, which remained in place, and one constructed during the British era, which collapsed. Traffic on the highway has been stopped while officials ascertain the strength and stability of the remaining bridge.

Collapsed bridge in Mahad, Raigad district, Maharashtra, India, August 2016. Photo: India MOD
Collapsed bridge in Mahad, Raigad district, Maharashtra, India, August 2016. Photo: India MOD

Gujarat

Flooding has been reported in the districts of Valsad, Chhota Udepur, Navsari and Surat after heavy rain yesterday, 02 August.

The Auranga river in Valsad was flowing about 1 metre above danger level, flooding several villages situated in low-lying areas along its bank, district disaster management officials said.

The Damanganga river, also in Valsad district, was also close to danger levels, as was the Ambika river in Navsari, which as flooded several villages in the area.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) report that at least 5 people have died – 3 in Valsad and 2 in Chhota Udepur.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) officials said that two teams each with about 35-40 people have been deployed in the parts of Valsad city.

NDRF added, “We have rescued 106 people from the low-lying areas, where flooding was high. Currently, two teams are stationed in Valsad with three boats. We have five more teams on stand-by to reach out to any emergency situation in other parts.”

According to India Meteorological Department figures, Valsad recorded 245 mm of rain in 24 hours to 03 August. Navsari recorded 96 mm and Dangs 104 mm in the same period.

Over 50 people died in Gujarat after major floods hit in late June last year.

Gujarat was also hit by major floods in September 2014 when over 20,000 people were evacuated after the Vishwamitri River in the district and city of Vadodara overflowed.

Floods in Valsad, Gujarat, August 2016. Photo: NDRF
Floods in Valsad, Gujarat, August 2016. Photo: NDRF