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At least 67 dead in India as rains trigger floods, landslides

Wambai: At least 67 people have died in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, authorities said Friday, after heavy monsoon rains caused landslides and flooded low-lying areas, cutting off hundreds of villages.

Parts of India’s west coast received up to 594 mm (23 inches) of rain in 24 hours, forcing authorities to evacuate vulnerable areas as they dumped water from dams that threatened to overflow.

“Unexpected heavy rains have caused landslides in many places and flooded rivers,” Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the Maharashtra state government, told reporters.

“Dams and rivers overflow their banks. We are forced to dump water from dams and, accordingly, move people living along the river to safer places. “

He added that the navy and army are helping with coastal rescue operations.

At least 36 people died in Talia, 180 km (112 miles) southeast of the financial capital Mumbai, when a landslide flattened much of a small village, said Vijay Vadettivar, a minister in the state government.

At least four people have died in Mumbai after the building collapsed, and another 27 have died in other parts of Maharashtra due to landslides and heavy rain accidents, according to state government officials.

There are fears that several dozen people were trapped in landslides in the Satara and Raigad areas, said a state government official, who asked not to be named.

“Rescue work continues at various locations in Satara, Raigad and Ratnagiri. Heavy rains and flooding of rivers make it difficult for us to quickly move the rescue equipment, ”he said.

Thousands of trucks were stuck on the national highway connecting Mumbai with Bangalore’s southern technology hub, with the road flooded in some places, another Maharashtra government official said.

Meanwhile, he said, hundreds of villages and towns were left without electricity and drinking water.

The rivers overflowed their banks in the neighboring southern states of Karnataka and Telangana, where authorities were monitoring the situation, local officials said.

Seasonal monsoon rains from June to September cause death and massive population displacement in South Asia every year, but they also contribute over 70% of India’s rainfall and are critical for farmers. – Reuters

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