At least 180 people have died in the west Indian state of Maharashtra after torrential monsoon rains caused landslides and flooded low-lying areas, cutting off hundreds of villages.
At least 38 people were killed in Taliye, 180 kilometers (110 miles) southeast of the financial capital Mumbai, when a landslide flattened most of the small village, state government officials said. The death toll also includes 27 reported deaths from Satara district in the last 48 hours, a representative from the state’s Disaster Management, Relief & Rehabilitation department told CNN.
In nine other landslides in other parts of Maharashtra, 59 people died and another 15 were killed in accidents linked to the heavy rainfall, state government officials said. Another 84 deaths are from the coastal dstrict of Raigad, according to an official with the National Disaster Response Force on Monday.
The toll rose after 31 people who were reported missing after Thursday’s landslide have been confirmed dead.
Since Thursday, Maharashtra, along with the neighboring states of Goa, Karnataka and Telangana, has faced heavy rainfall. In Maharashtra, the Radhanagari Dam overflowed and the Panchganga River saw water levels rise, submerging low-lying areas nearby. Rescue operations are continuing in those interior districts, toward the state’s south and along the border with Karnataka.
In Maharashtra, more than 200,000 people have been evacuated, according to the state’s Department of Relief and Rehabilitation.
The National Disaster Response Force, the Indian Army, Coast Guards, Navy, Air Force and state authorities have all been deployed as part of the rescue effort.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday issued a red alert for six districts of Maharashtra, forecasting “extremely heavy” rainfall and recommending preventive actions. The official said that districts Kolhapur and Sangli are still on alert, Reuters reported.
Parts of India’s west coast received up to 594 millimeters (23 inches) of rainfall over 24 hours, forcing authorities to evacuate people from vulnerable areas as they released water from dams that were threatening to overflow.
“Unexpected very heavy rainfall triggered landslides in many places and flooded rivers,” Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads Maharashtra’s state government, told journalists.
“Dams and rivers are overflowing. We are forced to release water from dams, and, accordingly, we are moving people residing near the river banks to safer places,” he said.
Thackeray was due to visit flood-affected areas but his helicopter was unable to land due to low visibility, according to a Twitter thread posted by his office on Monday.
On Friday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced compensation of $2,686 for the families of victims, and $671 to those injured.
Thousands of trucks were stuck on a national highway linking Mumbai with the southern technology hub of Bengaluru, with the road submerged in some places, another Maharashtra government official said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of villages and towns were without electricity and drinking water, he said.
Rivers were also overflowing in the neighboring southern states of Karnataka and Telangana where authorities were monitoring the situation, government officials there said.
Seasonal monsoon rains from June to September cause deaths and mass displacement across South Asia every year, but they also deliver more than 70% of India’s rainfall and are crucial for farmers.