Around 100 people were still missing in Maharashtra's six flood-hit districts where many got buried or washed away in landslides triggered by heavy rains last week, killing at least 164 people, as per official estimates. Rescue operations at a few landslide sites including at Taliye in Raigad and Ambeghar in Satara were called off by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) late on Sunday as the possibility of finding more missing people faded.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had to call off his tour of flood-affected Satara district on Monday as the helicopter he was travelling in could not land due to bad weather conditions in the afternoon after taking off from Pune earlier in the day. Thackeray was scheduled to visit flood affected villages in Satara district.
According to the state government, 53 people are still missing at three landslide locations in Raigad district. 14 people continue to be missing in Ratnagiri, 4 in Thane and one each in Kolhapur and Sindhudurg. Search is also on for 27 others at more than five landslide locations in the state. Authorities fear that several of the untraced victims have been washed away with strong currents of floods.
The country's western coast has been hit by heavy rainfall since Thursday, with the India Meteorological Department warning of more rain over the next few days. Major state and national highways, including the Mumbai-Goa highway, continued to be shut on Sunday due to severe water-logging and after portions of the roads were washed away in some areas.
The death toll in eight districts has risen to 164 after a few more bodies were recovered by NDRF and armed forces since Sunday. Raigad, which saw three landslides last week, reported 71 deaths followed by 41 in Satara, 21 in Ratnagiri, Kolhapur 7 and Thane 12 among others.
"Since there is no possibility of finding the missing persons from the landslide sites, the search operations at three sites in Satara and three in Raigad have been called off. One child from the Ambeghar landslide location is still missing. The respective villages have been taken into confidence before winding up the rescue ops. The NDRF teams were still in the flood hit districts, and the decision of their withdrawal will be taken at an appropriate time," said an official from Mantralaya.
34 companies comprising 45 personnel each are deployed in Ratnagiri (6), Satara (4), Kolhapur (8), Pune (4) and other districts. Kolhapur and Sangli each have one rescue team from Indian Army, while two Coast Guards teams are engaged in rescue operations.
The number of evacuated people has gone past 2,50,000 people as a few thousand more people were evacuated from Sangli and Kolhapur on Sunday evening.