2.5 lakh people displaced due to heavy rains in Maharashtra, Karnataka

New Delhi | Heavy rains battered large swathes of the country on Wednesday and the situation remained grim in flood-hit parts of Karnataka and Maharashtra, where 2.5 lakh have been evacuated, while several rivers were in spate in Andhra Pradesh.

Sixteen deaths in rain and flood-related incidents have been reported from western Maharashtra in the last seven days, while the toll in Karnataka rose to five since Sunday and nearly 26,000 people have been evacuated.

Heavy downpour triggered by a deep depression, which crossed Odisha coast, battered several parts of the state creating a flood-like situation and disrupting train services in some areas in southern region.

Floodgates were opened in the dams in Maharashtra and barrages and reservoirs in Karnataka, where road and rail links remain hit by incessant monsoon rains.

Nearly 2.5 lakh people have been evacuated in Sangli, Kolhapur and Pune, Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said.

He warned people against travelling on the Mumbai-Bengaluru national highway.

Teams of the Territorial Army, the Navy and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are conducting rescue operations in Kolhapur and Sangli and six more NDRF teams will be airlifted to Kolhapur by Wednesday evening, he said.

“All the dams in the region are overflowing and the Met department has predicted continuous rains for the next three to four days. So if the catchment areas of dams receive more rain, possibility of more floods cannot be ruled out,” Mhaisekar added.

Meanwhile, the national capital witnessed a humid day, with the mercury settling at 35.5 degrees Celsius.

The Safdarjung Observatory, the recording of which is considered official for the city, received 22.2 mm rainfall. The Palam Observatory received 9.6 mm and Lodhi Road received 24.3 mm.

In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, three people died in lightning strike in Hardoi, while one person died in Gorakhpur, a state government’s spokesperson said.

Four people lost their lives in incessant rains in Greater Noida, while one person each died in Bulandshahr and Kanpur, he said.

One person each died due to snakebite in Hardoi, Raebareli, Ghazipur and Bulandshahr, he said.

Lucknow recorded 32.6 mm rainfall and the maximum temperature in the city settled at 34.3 degrees Celsius.

Most parts of Himachal Pradesh received light to heavy rainfall, with Una recording the maximum at 109 mm on Wednesday.

Sarkaghat recorded rainfall at 92 mm, followed by Dehra Gopipur 72 mm, Dharamshala 68 mm and Bakloh 66 mm and Shimla 54.9 mm, it said.

Heavy rainfall was also recorded at isolated places in Mandi, Chamba and Kangra districts, the Met department said.

In Rajasthan, parts of Kota and Bundi districts received moderate to heavy rains since Tuesday morning, leading to flooding of most rivers and other water bodies in the region.

A man was swept away in Bundi district, Namana police station in-charge Namana Koshaliya said.

Bairwa and his brother-in-law Devi Lal were returning to their village on a motorcycle when the incident occurred. While Lal managed to save himself by holding to a tree branch, Bairwa was swept away.

The 50-year-old’s body and his motorcycle were found in the morning, the officer said.

Another bike was also found near the reservoir and it emerged that two other persons were also swept away by the water flow on Tuesday night but managed to escape, Koshaliya said.

In another incident, a seven-year-old boy fell into an overflowing small stream in Kotari area of Kota city on Tuesday night while playing outside his house, the police said.

At least three wagons of a goods train derailed in Odisha’s Ambadola station. Several trains in the Rayagada-Titlagarh section were cancelled or diverted due to heavy water logging and washing away of ballast of 100 metres of tracks, a railway official said.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said torrential rainfall submerged vast areas in Malkangiri, Rayagada, Koraput, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Gajapati and Ganjam districts of Odisha.

The six districts have received more than 100 mm of average rainfall since Tuesday, the SRC said, adding that Kandhamal recorded average rainfall of 183.3 mm, while Rayagada got 163.4 mm, Malkangiri 129.3 mm, Koraput 113.9 mm, Kalahandi 109.4 mm and Ganjam received 104.6 mm rainfall.

Heavy rains in Andhra Pradesh resulted in increase in water levels in major rivers of the state on Wednesday, with the threat of flood looming in Vamsadhara river in far-off Srikakulam district.

Water level at Gotta Barrage on Vamsadhara touched 91,054 cusecs on Wednesday evening, prompting authorities to issue a second warning signal.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reviewed the flood situation at a meeting in Mumbai. He told reporters later that the state received 104 pc of average rain during June-August period, most of it in western Maharashtra and Konkan.

“342 bridges have gone underwater and are closed for vehicles. Twenty-nine state highways and 56 roads have also been shut. NH 4 and Kolhapur-Ratnagiri highway (part of Mumbai-Goa highway) are closed,” a state official said.

The Met department has issued a warning of “very heavy rainfall” at few places in five districts of Chhattisgarh, including Raipur.

The department on Wednesday evening also predicted “heavy rains” in next 24 hours in five districts of Bastar division where incessant rains have sent major rivers into spate, disrupting normal life.

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