MUMBAI: Thirty-six people have been killed in landslides caused by monsoon rains in western India, authorities said on Friday.
As many as 40 others were missing after the three separate landslides on Thursday evening in the Raigad district of Maharashtra state, south of India’s financial capital Mumbai.
“At least 35 to 40 people are still trapped, we are trying to rescue them,” a local official said. Elsewhere in the state, up to 15 people were also missing.
The Navy and Air Force joined rescue efforts after the downpour caused floods that left thousands stranded, but their operations were hampered by landslides blocking roads, including the main highway between Mumbai and Goa.
Water levels rose to 3.5 metres (12 feet) in areas of Chiplun, a city 250 kilometres (160 miles) from Mumbai, following 24 hours of uninterrupted rain that caused the Vashishti river to overflow, submerging roads and homes.
The Indian Navy deployed seven rescue teams equipped with rubber boats, life jackets and lifebuoys to the affected areas, along with specialist divers and a helicopter to airlift marooned residents.
A landslide in the neighbouring town of Khed injured 10 people, according to a press release from the state government. Another “10 to 15 people are likely to be trapped under the rubble”, the statement said.
India’s meteorological department has issued red alerts for several regions in the state, indicating that heavy rainfall will continue for the next few days.