The death toll in various rain-related incidents, including floods and landslides, in Maharashtra rose to 149 on Sunday with 36 more bodies being found in Satara and Raigad districts as rescue operations gathered pace, while 64 people remain missing, the state government said. So far, 50 people have been injured in these incidents, it said in a statement. A total of 2,29,074 people have been evacuated from the affected districts in the Konkan region and western Maharashtra, to safer places.
A statement from the state secretariat control room said 28 more deaths were reported from the Satara district in western Maharashtra and 8 from the Raigad district in the coastal region. The government said 60 deaths were so far reported in Raigad, 21 in Ratnagiri, 41 in Satara, 12 in Thane, seven in Kolhapur, four in suburban Mumbai, and two each in Sindhudurg and Pune.
A total of 875 villages in Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Pune were affected by the torrential rains, it said. “Five relief camps have been set up in flood-hit Chiplun city in Ratnagiri district. 25 teams of the NDRF, four teams of the SDRF, two teams of the Coast Guard, five teams of the Navy and three teams of the Army are conducting the relief and rescue operations," the statement said.
As the bridge over the Vashishthi river connecting Chiplun to Mumbai has collapsed, the road remains shut for the traffic. The state government has provided a emergency financial aid of Rs 2 crore each to Raigad and Ratnagiri districts. Satara, Sangli, Pune, Kolhapur, Thane and Sindhudurg, also affected by rains, were provided with a financial aid of Rs 50 lakh each, the statement said. Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray visited Chiplun, the site of severe flooding, and interacted with residents, businessmen and shopkeepers. He promised them all help from the state government to restore normalcy in the area.
Thackeray said they will require “central assistance for long-term mitigation measures", and added that he will tour western Maharashtra on Monday and comprehensive data of the extent of damages will be prepared. Heavy rains earlier this week triggered landslides in some areas of Maharashtra including the deadliest one at Taliye village in the Raigad district.
GSM-based System Forewarned 3.5 Lakh People in Kolhapur
A public address system operated through GSM technology helped as many as 3.5 lakh people in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra to protect themselves as heavy rains triggered floods and caused water-logging in many areas over the last few days, guardian minister Satej Patil has said. More than 75,000 people have been shifted to safer places in Kolhapur so far, Patil said in a statement.
Learning its lessons from the devastating 2019 floods, the Kolhapur administration recently installed a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication)-based public address system at 57 places in Shirol and Karvir tehsils. The system has been funded from the annual plan of the District Planning Committee, which is headed by Patil. This system activated during floods triggered by heavy rains, directed people to take necessary precautions such as not venturing out of their homes and shifting to safer places if required.
The system was installed in 21 villages in Karavir tehsil and 36 villages in Shirol tehsil. These villages face the risk of flooding during the monsoon every year. The system has benefited 3.5 lakh people as they received timely intimation about the potential risk of the flood. Villagers were informed about their shifting to safer places in advance and it helped the administration in the smooth transition of villagers.
Similarly, they were also informed about the precautions they require to take during heavy rainfall and water-logging," said Patil, also MoS for Home and IT, Maharashtra. He said this system is operated from the District Disaster Management Control Room or other offices of the district collectorate.
Speaking about its advantages, Patil said besides the low cost of operation, the system runs on solar power and does not require electricity, which is an added advantage given that power outage during natural disasters is a common occurrence.