India floods: At least 13 dead in heavy rains, floods and lightning in parts of Maharashtra

The heavy rain wreaked havoc in the central part of Maharashtra leading to death and destruction

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Wednesday 29 September 2021 11:21
<p>Men push handcarts along a street in Mumbai</p>

Men push handcarts along a street in Mumbai

At least 13 people have died in heavy rains and lightning in the western state of Maharashtra due to the tropical cyclone 'Gulab'.

The parched central part of the state known as Marathwada was worst hit by the cyclone, reporting 10 deaths alone over the past two days. The torrential rains caused widespread damage in the region, destroying crops and houses. Over 200 cattle perished or were washed away during the rain.

According to disaster management officials, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has so far rescued over 560 people after mobilising helicopters and boats.

The Indian Air Force was fielded in on Wednesday to rescue three people stranded in an inundated village in the Latur district.

The deaths were mostly reported from the central and northern regions of Maharashtra. A lightning strike killed one person and injured four others in Nashik district. Three people died after a state transport bus was swept away while crossing an inundated bridge in Yavatmal district on Tuesday.

The capital Mumbai city also experienced some heavy rainfall.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday forecast "extremely heavy rains" in Marathwada, in western Maharashtra for the next 24 hours.

Heavy rainfall in catchment areas of the Manjara dam forced authorities to open all 18 gates of the reservoir, which led to flooding in villages of Beed district. "the Water Resources Department has been monitoring the situation closely. We are trying to minimise the damage," state water resource minister Jayant Patil told reporters.

Meanwhile, 18 gates of the Jayakwadi, the biggest dam of the Marathwada region were opened after the water level reached 95 per cent of the storage capacity. The water has been released into the Godavari river and the state government has asked citizens residing near the river basin to be vigilant.

"In case of any natural calamity, the district administration and the police administration have been instructed to be vigilant and take immediate action," state minister Rajesh Tope tweeted in Hindi.

A large amount of water was also discharged from the Gangapur dam into the Godavari river on Wednesday which is likely to lead to flooding.

The rainfall was caused by remnants of cyclone Gulab which has now weakened into a low-pressure area over the northeastern region of Maharashtra. The cyclone formed in the Bay of Bengal and made landfall in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh earlier this week.

However, in a rare phenomenon, the met department is predicting that the cyclonic system could re-intensify after hitting the Arabian Sea and turn into Cyclone Shaheen.

The meteorological department in their daily bulletin on Wednesday said: “The remnant of the Cyclonic Storm ‘Gulab’ lay as a well-marked low-pressure area over south Gujarat region and adjoining Gulf of Khambhat. Likely to intensify into a Depression by the morning of September 30”.

Deputy chief minister of Maharashtra Ajit Patel on Tuesday visited the battered areas of the state and instructed the administrative head of Osamanabad district to evacuate all the flood victims.

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