PUNE/ MUMBAI: Over four lakh people have been evacuated to safer places from flood-affected parts of Maharashtra in last five days, including 3.78 lakh from the worst-hit Kolhapur and Sangli districts where water began to recede slowly on Saturday.
A total of 30 persons died in rain-related incidents in five districts of western Maharashtra in the last one week, including 12 who drowned when a boat capsized in Sangli.
The situation in western Maharashtra is likely to improve as five lakh cusec of water was being discharged from Almatti dam on the Krishna river in Karnataka, officials said.
The backwaters of the dam are spread in Maharashtra.
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 across the state.
A total of 761 villages in 69 tehsils are affected by floods.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reviewed the rescue and relief operations in Sangli on Saturday.
Addressing a press conference there, Fadnavis attributed the flooding to "unprecedented" rainfall this monsoon, which he said was "more than double" of that in 2005 when massive floods had been witnessed.
"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 now. In Kolhapur, there was 159 per cent rainfall in 2005, while it was 480 per cent in nine days this time," he said.
While the overall situation, especially in Kolhapur and Sangli, improved slightly on Saturday, evacuation of people from flooded areas 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 has fallen by three inches since morning.
While the danger level of the Panchganga river is 51.8 feet in Kolhapur city and 43 feet in the district, the current water level is above the danger line.
In Sangli, the water level has dropped by eight inches.
The danger level of the Krishna river there is 45 feet while the current level is 55.10 feet, Mhaisekar said.
"If there is no heavy rainfall in both the districts, it will take 72 hours for the water to recede," he 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 Visakhapatnam will join the relief and rescue operations in Kolhapur.
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.
As many as 43,922 livestock animals have been evacuated from Kolhapur and Sangli districts.
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.
National Highway 4 (Mumbai- Bengaluru) is still shut, and Karnataka-bound vehicles coming from Mumbai are advised to take the Solapur route, Mhaisekar said.
Priority will be given to launch clean-up drives once floodwaters recede, he said.
"Arrangements are being made to set up temporary toilets in Sangli and Kolhapur," Mhaisekar said, adding that 150 medical teams have been deployed for Kolhapur, 80 for Sangli, and 72 for Satara.
A meeting was held with bank representatives to restore ATMs in Sangli and Kolhapur districts.
"Banks have been asked not to insist on passbooks for withdrawing cash. Cash will be disbursed on the basis of UIDs," he said.
Meanwhile, three more bodies have been recovered following the boat capsize incident during the rescue operations on Thursday near Brahmanal village in 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. It took the death toll in the incident to 12.