Heavy rains, lightning kill 13 in Maharashtra

Heavy rains, lightning kill 13 in Maharashtra; over 560 people rescued

Meanwhile, Maharashtra minister Dhananjay Munde reviewed the situation in the region and interacted with farmers in Amabajogai taluka

The heavy showers forced authorities to open the gates of various dams for water discharge. Credit: AFP File Photo

Over 12 to 14 people have died in the last days as the Cyclone Gulab-triggered flash-floods swept parts of the Marathwada region and its neighbouring areas in Maharashtra.

The adjacent Vidarbha region too received heavy rainfall - resulting in inundation at several places.

In Umarkhed tehsil, Yavatmal district of Vidarbha, a state-transport bus was swept away as it passed over a flooded culvert - as it was plying on the Nanded-Nagpur route.

Three bodies including that of the driver, conductor and a passenger have been recovered, while two persons have been rescued, reports reaching here said.

Onlookers have captured the incident on mobile phones and the videos have gone viral on social media.

The Marathwada region comprising eight districts of Aurangabad, Beed, Hingoli, Jalna, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad and Parbhani - spread over a vast 64,590 sq km - bore the brunt of monsoon-fury.

Excessive rainfall over 65 mm was recorded in over 180 circles falling under these eight districts, according to the Aurangabad-based Divisional Commissioner’s office.

At least 10 persons have died in Marathwada, which also saw extensive damage to crops, poultry and cattle.

Heavy rains were reported in catchment areas of Manjara and Majalgaon dams.

The Terna river was overflowing at several palaces. NDRF teams have been dispatched to several locations even as an IAF helicopter was pressed into action to rescue four stranded persons in Osmanabad district.

The weathermen have made similar forecasts for the next couple of days. “The Cyclone Gulab would continue to have its impact in Marathwada, Madhya Maharashtra and Konkan,” said KS Hosalikar, Head SID, Climate & Research Services, Pune.

The financial capital of Mumbai and the larger Mumbai metropolitan region comprising North Konkan districts of Palghar, Raigad and Ratnagiri too received intermittent showers, however, there has not been any disruption of the road and rail traffic.

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With this, 434 people have been killed in rain-related incidents in the state since June 1, the disaster management department official said in Mumbai.

A total of 205 animals, including 60 large milch animals, were washed away or perished in the heavy rains over the last two days.

"With this, the total loss of livestock, including cows, buffaloes and goats, has increased up to 1,632. As many as 91,510 poultry birds are also estimated to be died in heavy rains (both figures since June 1),” the official said.

The heavy rain and flood have damaged crops on several acres of agricultural land in the region, he said.

"Since yesterday (Monday), the Water Resources Department has been monitoring the situation closely. We are trying to minimise the damage," Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil told reporters in Beed.

The administration will provide all possible relief to people, the minister said. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams and choppers were deployed in parts of Marathwada to rescue stranded people.

One team of the State Disaster Response Force has also been deployed in Jalgaon district in North Maharashtra, the official said.

A total of 564 people were rescued from rain and flood-hit areas in different districts. As many as 459 people were rescued from flood-affected areas in the last 48 hours across Osmanabad district and the NDRF deployed a helicopter to reach those stranded in floodwaters, officials said on Tuesday evening.

Six persons, including two children, were rescued by the NDRF by deploying a helicopter at Dautpur village in Osmanabad tehsil, while ten persons were evacuated from Saundane Amba village in Kalamb tehsil.

The Osmanabad-Ausa road was blocked as water was flowing over the Kamegaon-Samudrawani bridge. The Manjara dam was filled to the capacity which necessitated opening of 18 gates of the dam, an official said.

Twenty persons were rescued from a house in Wakadwadi village of Kalamb tehsil. Some 125 persons were rescued in Ramwadi, 114 in Irla, 35 each in Ter and Borkheda and 90 in Dautpur, the official said.

Two teams of NDRF participated in the rescue operations. The collector of neighbouring Latur district, Prithviraj B P, told PTI that a family of three, including a child, was reportedly stranded at Pohregaon in Renapur tehsil of the district, but rescue teams could not reach the spot due to the bad weather and low visibility.

"We are trying other ways to rescue them. The helicopter (used by the NDRF) has halted in Latur. It will fly tomorrow morning (Wednesday) to rescue them," he said. A total of 77 people trapped in two villages in Beed district amid heavy rains were rescued, officials said.

"Nineteen people in Aapegaon village and 58 people in Devla trapped in farms and homes were rescued on Tuesday," Umesh Shirke, District Disaster Management Officer said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra minister Dhananjay Munde reviewed the situation in the region and interacted with farmers in Amabajogai taluka.

An NDRF team, a helicopter and boats were deployed to rescue people stranded in barrages, villages and on the banks of a river in Latur district, which was lashed by heavy rains through the day.

While 25 out of 40 people stranded on the banks of Manjara river at Sarsa village have been rescued using boats, efforts were on to get the rest 15 to safety, an official said.

He added that three people stranded on a river basin in Digol Deshmukh area in Renapur tehsil have been also rescued.

Three employees of the state Irrigation Department were stuck in the Ghansargaon village barrage, and an NDRF team as well as a helicopter have been brought in help local personnel with the rescue effort, said District Disaster Management Officer Sakeb Usmani.

Heavy rains also lashed Mumbai and suburbs, but no major water-logging is reported so far and public transport services, including suburban trains, also remained unaffected, officials said.

A civic official said no incident of a major water-logging was reported despite heavy showers in Mumbai. Public transport services are also running normally, he added.

"Local and long-distance trains from Mumbai are running as per time table," Shivaji Sutar, chief public relations officer, Central Railway said.

Meanwhile, Water Resources Minister Patil said it is the government's duty to provide relief to farmers and it will do so. He made the comments at Ambajogai in Beed district while consoling a farmer, whose crops have been damaged in rains.

Patil is on a Marathwada tour as part of his party NCP's "Ratrashwadi Parivar Samvad Yatra" and during the tour, he reviewed the flood situation in Beed district and interacted with farmers.

While Patil was holding a meeting with party activists at Ambajogai, an elderly farmer along with his grandson came to see him.

The farmer was carrying a bunch of damaged soybean crop that was damaged due to heavy rains in Marathwada. After listening to his plight, Patil consoled him.

"Don't worry, the government is with you," Patil told the farmer and added an assessment of crop damage has been ordered.

"Extremely heavy rains" are expected at a few places in Marathwada, Mumbai and other parts of Konkan in the next 24 hours, the IMD said in Mumbai on Tuesday evening.

K S Hosalikar, senior scientist at IMD Mumbai, said, “The remnants of Gulab cyclone will continue to have its impact on Marathwada, Madhya Maharashtra, Konkan with few places receiving extremely heavy rainfall.

"The northern parts of Konkan and Madhya Maharashtra will receive more showers on Wednesday as well," he said. "Extremely heavy rainfall" means precipitation of more than 204.5 mm in 24 hours.

“There is low pressure area of Gulab cyclone now. As it is moving towards Arabian sea, its effect on Maharashtra will decrease from Thursday,” he said. 

(With PTI inputs)

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