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Over 4 lakh people moved to safety, water receding in Sangli &

Press Trust of India  |  Pune/Mumbai 

Over four lakh people have been moved to safety from the flood-hit parts of Maharashtra in the last five days, including 3.78 lakh from the worst-hit Kolhapur and Sangli districts where the situation showed signs of improvement on Saturday as the water levels started receding slowly, but are still above the danger marks.

Officials are now hoping that it doesn't rain heavily in the next 72 hours in Kolhapur and Sangli districts to allow water levels to recede completely.

The situation is likely to improve further as five lakh cusec of water was being discharged from the Almatti dam in neighbouring Karnataka.

The backwaters of Almatti dam on the Krishna river fall in Maharashtra.

In view of the flood water levels not falling, Fadnavis had asked his Karnataka counterpart BS Yediyurappa to increase the water discharge to 500,000 cusec.

The discharge from Koyna (Satara) and Radhanagari (Kolhapur) dams stood at 77,987 cusec and 7,112 cusec, respectively, a state government statement said.

According to the statement, 4,24,333 people have been evacuated and shifted to safer places across the state. A total of 761 villages in 69 'talukas' in the state were affected by flood.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reviewed the rescue and relief operations in Sangli on Saturday and interacted with the people. He assured all assistance to them.

Addressing a press conference there later, Fadnavis attributed the flooding to "unprecedented" rainfall during this monsoon, which he said was "more than double" of what was witnessed in 2005, when many parts of the state, including large areas of Mumbai, were submerged.

"During the 2005 floods, Sangli had received 217 per cent rainfall in a month's time, while this there was 758 per cent rainfall in just nine days. In Kolhapur, there was 159 per cent rainfall in 2005, while it was 480 per cent in nine days this time," he said.

According to the chief minister, a total of 3,78,000 people were evacuated in Kolhapur and Sangli districts.

"As per the preliminary information, crops on 27,468 hectares of area and 484 km of roads have been affected due to floods," Fadnavis said, adding that once the water level reduces, priority would be given to restoring and repairing water supply and electricity connections.

While the overall situation, especially in Kolhapur and Sangli, improved slightly on Saturday, the operation to evacuate people from flooded areas and providing relief to them continued.

"There is an improvement in the overall situation. Water is receding, albeit slowly," Abhinav Deshmukh, Kolhapur superintendent of police, told PTI.

Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said the water level in Kolhapur is reduced by three inches since morning.

While the danger level of the Panchganga river flood line in Kolhapur is at 51.8 feet and 43 feet in the district, the current level is above the danger line.

"In Sangli, the water level has dropped by eight inches, which is an indication that the flood water is receding," said the divisional commissioner.

In Sangli, the danger level of the Krishna river flood line is 45 feet while the current level is 55.10 feet, which is still 10 feet higher, he said.

"If there is no heavy rainfall in both the districts, it will take 72 hours to recede the water completely," said Mhaisekar.

Apart from local administration, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Maharashtra State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Army, Navy, IAF, Coast Guard teams are involved in the rescue and relief operations.

Fifteen more Navy teams from Vishakhapatnam will join the relief and rescue operations in Kolhapur, the statement said.

In Kolhapur, where 249 villages were affected, 2,33,150 people have been evacuated so far, while in Sangli district, where 108 villages were under water, 1,44,987 people were rescued and shifted to safer places. There are 74 boats in Kolhapur and 93 in Sangli for rescue operations.

There are 23 teams of NDRF, 26 Navy, nine teams of the Coast Guard and one team of SRDF in Kolhapur, while in Sangli, there are two Coast Guard teams, eight Army teams, two SDRF teams involved in the rescue operation.

In Kolhapur, 187 shelter camps have been set up to provide relief to the flood-affected people, while there are 117 such camps in Sangli.

The affected people are being given water, food, medical assistance. As many as 43,922 livestock have been evacuated from Kolhapur and Sangli districts, it said.

In Satara, 118 villages were affected due to floods, from where 9,221 people were evacuated, while 13,500 were rescued from 108 villages in Pune district. In Nashik, 3,894 people were rescued from five villages.

In Thane, 25 villages were flooded from where 13,104 people were shifted to safer places. In neighbouring Palghar district, 2,000 people were rescued from 58 villages.

Twelve villages in Ratnagiri district experienced flooding, from where 687 people were moved to safety, while in Raigad and Sindhudurg, 3,000 and 490 people were rescued respectively.

Mhaisekar said the primary focus of the administration is to provide relief to the displaced people.

Massive arrangements have been made to ensure that essential material, including food items and water, is provided to people once they return to their homes in Kolhapur and Sangli districts.

Mhaisekar said the thrust will be given on supplying food by boats in the affected areas as it has come to notice that food items dropped from choppers are getting damaged.

Speaking on traffic situation, he said since National Highway 4 (Mumbai- Bengaluru) is still shut, Karnataka-bound vehicles coming from Mumbai are advised to take the Solapur route to go to the southern state.

Mhaisekar said priority will be given to launch cleanliness drives in rural as well as in city areas once the water recedes completely.

"Arrangements are being done to set up temporary toilets in both the districts," Mhaisekar said, adding that 150 medical teams have been deployed for Kolhapur, 80 for Sangli, and 72 for Satra.

He said a meeting was held with representatives of banks to restore ATMs in Sangli and Kolhapur districts.

"Looking at the present condition, banks have been asked not to insist on passbooks for withdrawing cash. Cash will be distributed to the account holder on the basis of UIDs," he said.

The divisional commissioner said green corridors are being created for transporting the relief material to the flood-ravaged districts.

Meanwhile, three more bodies have been recovered in the boat capsize incident during the flood rescue operations on Thursday near Brahmanal village in Palus tehsil of Sangli.

Nine people had drowned and as many others had gone missing in the incident. "We have recovered three more bodies, including that of a girl," an official said.

With the recovery of three more bodies, the death toll in the incident has gone up to 12.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, August 10 2019. 21:00 IST