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Death toll in Maharashtra floods rises to 138

The death toll in the Maharashtra floods, caused by torrential rains, rose to 138 on Saturday (Pic: Courtesy Al Jazeera)

The death toll in the Maharashtra floods, caused by torrential rains, rose to 138 on Saturday as rescue teams struggled through slush and rubble to save people from submerged homes some which were buried under landslides. 

"Around 90,000 people were rescued from flood affected areas and shifted to safer places," the state government said in a statement.

Maharashtra Minister of Relief and Rehabilitation Vijay Wadettiwar said that  "138 accidental deaths have been reported in the state due to rain and other monsoon-related incidents,"

Maharashtra has recorded the heaviest rain in July in four decades with most rivers in spate due to the incessant rain. Water from local dams has also been released, leading to a worsening of the situation. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the flooded areas to safer places.

In Taliye, a village located about 180 km from Mumbai, the death toll rose to 42 with the recovery of four more bodies after landslides flattened most homes in the village, a senior Maharashtra government official said.

Parts of India's west coast have received up to 594 mm (23 inches) of rain, forcing authorities to move people out of vulnerable areas as they released water from dams about to overflow. The hill station of Mahabaleshwar recorded its highest ever rainfall – 60 cm in 24 hours.

Rescuers were searching for victims of landslides in four other places in the state, the official said.

Extreme weather conditions across the world have fuelled fears over climate change. While torrential rains have also battered China and Europe with vast areas reeling from floods, there have been unprecedented heat waves across US and Canada disrupting lives and livelihoods.