PUNE/MUMBAI: Over four lakh people have been moved to safety from the flood-hit parts of Maharashtra so far, including 3.78 lakh from the worst-hit Kolhapur and Sangli districts where the situation showed signs of improvement on Saturday as the water level started receding.
According to a statement from the state government, 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 the 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 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.
"Currently the water level in Kolhapur is at 52 feet although the danger level is 47 feet. The highest water level during the current flood was 57 feet."
As rains have stopped in Kolhapur, the situation is likely improving further.
In neighbouring Sangli district as well, the water level is receding gradually, officials said.
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 underwater, 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.
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.
Five lakh cusec of water was being discharged from the Almatti dam in Karnataka, while from Koyna (Satara) and Radhanagari (Kolhapur) dams, the discharge is 77,987 cusec and 7,112 cusec respectively, the statement said.