1,028 villages affected, 2.30 lakh persons evacuated. Livelihood of 1.95 lakh people hit in Kolhapur alone
Authorities on Monday said 164 persons had lost their lives while 100 persons were missing in the landslips and rain-related accidents caused by the unprecedented downpour that lashed western Maharashtra and the coastal Konkan region since July 22, said.
In Raigad district alone, 71 persons died due to the landslips which virtually buried Taliye village in Mahad tehsil and Sakhar Sutarwadi and Kevnale in Poladpur taluk.
Satara district reported 41 deaths, notably in the landslips at Mirgaon and Ambeghar villages.
More than 25,500 livestock have been engulfed by the floodwaters or buried.
The scale of the destruction — in human and animal life and property-wise — is estimated to be even worse than the 2019 floods which ravaged Kolhapur and Sangli in western Maharashtra or the 2014 Malin landslip where more than 150 persons were killed.
It is estimated that 1,028 villages have been afflicted by the rain since July 22, with nearly 400 of these in Kolhapur district and 120 in Satara. A consolidated assessment of the damage in the Konkan, especially in Chiplun and Khed in Ratnagiri district which are among the worst-hit, is expected soon.
Nearly 2.30 lakh persons have been evacuated, said official reports while the livelihood of 1.95 lakh people is said to have been hit in Kolhapur alone. The damage assessments from other districts in Konkan and western Maharashtra have yet to come in.
Rescue operations called off
After four days of arduous efforts in severely inclement weather, authorities have finally called off rescue operations in Taliye village with the 31 missing persons to be declared dead after due process.
“After seeking the opinion of the NDRF, the SDRF and other rescue teams and respecting the sentiments of the survivors and relatives of the missing people, we have accordingly withdrawn our rescue teams from Taliye,” said Raigad Collector Nidhi Chaudhary.
While 45 bodies had been recovered from the debris till Sunday, the addition of the missing will take the toll to over 75 dead in Taliye alone.
The NDRF authorities said 34 teams were engaged in operations across the State and 142 boats were deployed.
Uddhav forced to abandon visit
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who was due to visit rain-battered Satara on Monday, was compelled to abandon his visit after the helicopter in which he was travelling could not land owing to poor visibility.
Mr. Thackeray, who had visited flood-racked Chiplun in the Konkan on Sunday, was forced to return to the Pune airport, from where he proceeded to Mumbai. He was scheduled to interact with flood-hit villagers at a relief camp near the Koyna river.
“The Chief Minister had left for Satara district to inspect the flood-hit areas. However, owing to low visibility, the helicopter could not land on the Koyna helipad. He has returned to Pune Airport. The floodwater in this area has not completely receded as yet, and the weather is also an obstacle. So, the rescue work should be carried out carefully… flood victims should be provided immediate food, clothing and medicine,” tweeted the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who was scheduled to tour Kolhapur, too had to turn back as floodwaters still had not sufficiently receded from all major roads, including the Pune-Bengaluru national highway. Mr. Pawar instead double-backed to Sangli, where he met flood-hit residents and assured them of every help possible from the State government.
Fadnavis comes down on MVA leaders
Rebuking the leaders of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government, Leader of the Opposition and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis urged ruling party leaders to patiently listen to the sorrows of the flood-hit public.
Shiv Sena MLA Bhaskar Jadhav allegedly had a heated exchange with an affected lady in Chiplun.
“When there is a disaster on this scale, it is but natural for people to get outraged, given the loss of their property, their livelihood and means of living. This does not mean that the people are against you personally. Therefore, the ruling party leaders must patiently address issues and listen to the grief-stricken public with forbearance and not speak to them in a high-handed manner,” Mr. Fadnavis said.
He urged the Thackeray government to think out of the box while announcing a package for the flood-ravaged Konkan region.
“We had changed prevailing relief regulations in providing the package for the affected at the time of the 2019 Kolhapur and Sangli floods…we expect this [MVA] government to do the same as well,” he said, adding that such was the dire condition of the people in the Konkan that they had no money left to clean their houses.
Despite the rains diminishing in intensity, isolated parts in Satara continued to be pounded by moderate to heavy showers, with more than 50 families evacuated in Karad tehsil.
In Kolhapur, three gates of the Radhanagari dam were shut after the rains stopped and the levels of the Panchganga have come down significantly.
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