India – Massive Rescue Efforts Underway After Floods in Mumbai and Maharashtra

Massive rescue efforts are underway after heavy monsoon rainfall continues to wreak havoc in Mumbai and surrounding areas of the state of Maharashtra in India. Some areas in Maharashtra recorded more than 1,000 mm of rain in 48 hours.

Flood rescue Kolhapur Maharashtra, July 2021. Photo: NDRF

In Mumbai, heavy rain caused a building to collapse in the Govandi area early on 23 July 2021. Rescue operations are ongoing but media reports suggest 7 people have died and 3 injured. Just last week at least 20 people died in similar circumstances after several homes were destroyed in the Mumbai suburbs of Chembur and Vikhroli as a result of the heavy rain and landslides on 18 July.

Wider areas of Maharashtra state have been severely affected, resulting in massive rescue operations across several districts. Hundreds of people have been rescued so far, with many more still in need of help.

India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed teams to the districts of Ratnagiri, Kolhapur, Raigad, Satara, Sangli, Thane and Palghar. Units of the Coast Guard, Indian Navy and the Indian Army have joined the rescue and relief efforts in several areas, notably in Ratnagiri and Raigad districts.

The Indian Air Force has also undertaken rescue efforts using helicopters in Chiplun in Ratnagiri, where flood waters are so high residents have taken refuge on the roofs of houses.

The heavy rain has triggered several landslides in Mahad in Raigad district. During the evening of 22 July a landslide damaged 32 houses in Taliye Village in Mahad. Media report at least 5 people have lost their lives while many more are still missing. Rescue operations are underway.

Nearly 6,000 passengers were stranded as train services on the Konkan Railway route in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district were suspended on 22 July.

Roads have been closed across the region, including major roads such as the Pune-Bangalore NH-4 and the Mumbai-Goa highway.

Rain and Rivers

The state has seen heavy monsoon rain since the start of the month. From 01 July to 22 July, Ratnagiri recorded 1,781 mm of rain, which is the highest for 40 years and above the July monthly average of 972.5 mm.

Rainfall intensified in the region from 21 July. Reports from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) show Mahabaleshwar of Satara District received 1,074.8 mm of rain in 48 hours to 23 July (480.4 mm to 22 July and 594.4 mm to 23 July).

India’s Central Water Commission report that 3 rivers in the state are flowing above “Extreme Flood Situation” (highest warning level) as of 23 July, including the Wardha river in Chandrapur district; the Gad river in Sindudurg district; and the Bav river at in Ratnagiri district.

Flood rescue Ratnagiri Maharashtra, July 2021. Photo: NDRF

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