Floods brought by heavy rains and overflowing rivers across large swathes of western and southern India have killed at least 33 people and forced the evacuation of 180,000 from their homes, officials said yesterday.
Seasonal monsoon rains from June to September cause deaths and mass displacement across South Asia every year, but they deliver more than 70% of India’s rainfall, crucial for farm output and economic growth.
The tally of dead in the floods was 25 in the western state of Maharashtra by Thursday, officials said, while government data in the neighbouring southern state of Karnataka showed eight dead.
Rivers burst their banks in some parts of Maharashtra after authorities released water from dams brimming with as much as 670 mm (26.4 inches) of rain received in a week.
“If we get more rainfall, then we have no option but to release water in rivers,” said administrative official Deepak Mhaisekar, adding that many reservoirs around the state’s industrial city of Pune were full.
A boat full of villagers trying to escape the floods capsized on Thursday, killing at least 9 people, with rescuers searching for three or four still feared missing, he added. Thousands of trucks were stuck on a national highway linking the financial capital of Mumbai with the southern technology hub of Bengaluru, as waters submerged the road in some places, Mhaisekar said.
In Karnataka, officials said some major reservoirs were nearly full, and warned that nearby villages could be hit by large discharges of water.