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170 dead, 2.7 lakh evacuated in Maharashtra floods
August 09, 2006 17:02 IST
Heavy rains continued to lash Nashik, Jalgaon, Amravati, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Pune districts of Maharashtra, claiming 170 lives in the past four days and prompting authorities to shift over two lakh persons to safer places, official sources said Wednesday.
A total of 277,393 persons have been evacuated from 3,419 flood affected villages in 22 districts, according to an official of Maharashtra Disaster Management cell. Rivers Godavari, Krishna and Koyna are flowing above the danger mark while 300 persons were marooned in different parts of Nashik district, officer on special duty of Disaster Management Cell of Maharashtra, S C Mohanty told PTI.
The government machinery is constantly monitoring the flood situation and the army and air force are assisting in the rescue and relief operation, Mohanty said. All the evacuated persons have been accommodated in temporary shelters while the marooned people were supplied with food packets and water by air force personnel, he said. Two army helicopters have flown to Thekwada village in Nashik district while two to rain-ravaged Surat in Gujarat to carry out rescue operations, Brigadier P B Charak, DG Ops/Air, Southern Command, told reporters in Pune.
"We have rushed two helicopters to Thekwada village in Nashik for rescue operations," he said adding that army has at its disposal 20 helicopters to carry out relief operations in the flood-hit states within the jurisdiction of the Southern Command.
Relief and rescue operations being carried out by the army in flood-affected Maharashtra and Gujarat have ben hampered by people's reluctance to move out of their houses and disruptions in road communications, he added.
"People don't want to move out of their houses. They don't want to shift to another place leaving behind their personal belongings and cattle. They say they want to die in their houses, particularly those in Maharashtra," Brigadier Charak said.. As floods occur every year, the army was ready with men and equipment at vulnerable places. However, disruptions in road communications have affected the movement of men and equipment, he said.
Joint control rooms have been set up in coordination with the state governments at Mantralaya (secretriat) in Mumbai and at Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Representatives of the state governments and the army are jointly monitoring the flood situation in the two states, Charak said. Each request for help by the state governments was being responded to quickly to ensure optimum effectiveness of the relief operations, he said.
Charak said around 650 army personnel, including engineers and doctors with 24 rescue boats, have been deployed in flood- hit Maharashtra and 720 personnel with 24 boats in Gujarat. Each boat can ferry around 20 people and is equipped with life-jackets. The army has evacuated 2,010 people in Maharashtra and 3,061 in Gujarat to safer places, he said. Heavy rains and the release of water from Ukai dam have caused unprecedented floods in Surat, which "is experiencing the worst flood situation in 200 years", Charak said.
As the situation is stabilising in south and western Maharashtra, heavy rains in Marathwada and Vidharbha regions have caused floods in Nanded, Buldana, Jalna, Ahmednagar, Nasik, Aurangabad, Parbhani, Hingoli, Yavatmal, Washim, Akola and Nandurbar, he said.
Meanwhile, the Pune-Solapur Highway No 9 is blocked from 1500 hours today because of inundation caused by water release from Ujani Dam, Pune's Resident Deputy Collector Suhas Divse said. However, the volume of water being released from other dams in the district has been reduced, he said. In Pune district, the water has begun to recede from the flood-hit city areas including Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and many people who had been evacuated have begun to return to their homes, Divse said. However, those shifted from Shirur, Daund and Khe talukas of Pune district were still in the relief camps, the official said.