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75K flood-affected persons evacuated in Maharashtra

In one of the biggest operations, various government agencies and the armed forces have rescued and evacuated around 75,000 flood-affected people, including 66,000 from the worst affected Kolhapur and Sangli districts, officials said here on Wednesday.
75K flood-affected persons evacuated in Maharashtra

While more than 54,000 were shifted from Sangli, another 12,000 were moved from Kolhapur, 3,000 from Pune and 6,000 others from Solapur, Raigad, Ratnagiri and other districts, said the officials.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, along with Revenue Minister and Kolhapur Guardian Minister Chandrakant Patil, Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan, Cooperation Minister Subhash Deshmukh, Public Works Department Minister Eknath Shinde, and Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam, reviewed the flood situation in south-western parts of Maharashtra.

Collectors from various affected districts of Konkan, south and western Maharashtra informed Fadnavis of the flood crises in their respective areas during a video-conference here this afternoon.

Fadnavis has directed the district authorities to make alternate arrangements for drinking water, food, medicines and other essential items for the affected people on a priority basis, besides sharing information on water discharged from various overflowing dams with the Indian Railways on a regular basis.

"Around 22 NDRF and SDRF teams are deployed in these regions. Besides, teams of Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard are also engaged in rescue and relief efforts," the Chief Minister said.

He also directed the Health Ministry to make available medical teams from Mumbai for these districts in case of any requirements by local authorities, besides ensuring special care for children and women. A total of 162 medical teams are kept ready and shall be dispatched as demanded by the local authorities.

"All necessary items like medicines must be made available on top priority, the health authorities must ensure there is no outbreak of any diseases. Immediate survey of the damage to crops must also be carried out in these districts," said Fadnavis.

A defence spokesperson here said that five teams of the Indian Navy left for Kolhapur and Sangli on Tuesday evening, and another five teams departed on Wednesday.

Initially it was planned to airlift people from affected regions, but on two consecutive days (Tuesday and Wednesday), helicopters flew up to Kolhapur but were forced to return to base due to heavy rains, poor visibility and adverse conditions.

Accordingly, the rescue teams left from Pune by road overnight armed with rescue gears, but inflatable rubber boats will be airlifted by an IAF AN-32 aircraft to Kolhapur and to other affected areas as decided by the district authorities.

Simultaneously, the Goa Naval Area has sent four teams of divers for rescue in Kolhapur, said the official.

The teams were flown from INS Hansa in Goa for the Kolhapur airfield where they have joined other teams in coordination with the district officials.

For the sixth consecutive day today, parts of Pune, Satara, Kolhapur and Sangli continued to be hammered by incessant rains, submerging large areas of land, fields, villages, towns and cities, hitting both road and rail traffic badly.

( With inputs from IANS )

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