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67 killed as torrential rains trigger floods in Maharashtra, Navy & IAF move in for rescue work

67 killed as torrential rains trigger floods in Maharashtra, Navy and IAF move in for rescue work

At least 67 people have died in Maharashtra on Friday, after torrential rains triggered landslides and flooded low-lying areas, cutting off hundreds of villages in the state. The Indian Navy and Air Fiorce have moved rescue teams to affected areas and have also deployed helicopters for assistance to the flood-hit region.

Parts of India's west coast received up to 594 mm (23 inches) of rainfall over 24 hours, forcing authorities to evacuate people from vulnerable areas as they released water from dams that were threatening to overflow.

"Unexpected very heavy rainfall triggered landslides in many places and flooded rivers," Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray told journalists.

"Dams and rivers are overflowing. We are forced to release water from dams, and, accordingly, we are moving people residing near the river banks to safer places."

The Western Naval Command, Mumbai has mobilised flood rescue teams and helicopters to provide assistance following a request received from the Government of Maharashtra. 

Despite adverse weather conditions and widespread inundation in affected areas, a total of seven naval rescue teams departed by road for deployment to the Ratnagiri and Raigarh districts on 22 July 2021 from Mumbai. Airlift of marooned personnel from Raigarh district is also being undertaken. One Seaking 42C Helo from INS Shikra, Mumbai departed for Rescue at Poladpur/Raigad during early morning hours on 23 Jul 21.

The naval Flood Rescue Teams are fully self-sustained and equipped with Gemini rubber boats, loud hailers, first aid kits, life jackets and life buoys. These rescue teams also include specialist Naval Divers and diving equipment.

Additional flood rescue teams are being maintained on a high degree of readiness at Mumbai, for immediate deployment, should the need arise, the defence ministry said.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) received a message for help in flood relief operations in Chiplun and Khed towns of Ratnagiri district Maharashtra.

A helicopter has been deployed at Ratnagiri along with another one flown in from Mumbai. An NDRF team of 10 personnel with approximately one-ton load has also been flown in by IAF to Ratnagiri.

The IAF is also positioning two Mi-17V5s and two Mi-17s for flood relief operations. Another helicopter is standing by at Pune for any emergency requirement.