India monsoon: Rescue operations ramp up in search for survivors


India added more personnel to teams undertaking rescue operations in areas hard hit by monsoon rain, multiple landslides and flooding, emergency officials said Saturday.

A National Disaster Response Force representative told the Press Trust of India the Indian air force airlifted eight new teams from a base in Odisha to coastal areas in the state of Maharashtra.

The NDRF, equipped with life-saving equipment, inflatable boats, and tree and pole cutters, was tracking the weather report in India’s financial capital of Mumbai and other coastal areas in the Konkan region of the state after recent heavy rainfall, the representative added.

At least 136 people have died in the state as rescuers search for survivors, according to BBC News, which added that Mumbai has been hard hit, along with the neighboring state of Goa where hundreds of homes were damaged.

Experts told the BBC that global warming has made extreme rainfall more likely.

Some 90,000 people have been evacuated in Maharashtra in the past few days amid heavy rain that caused a series of landslides, according to the BBC and the Deccan Herald.

Water has receded in Raigad and Ratnagiri in the Konkan region, but several places in Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara in Western Maharashtra were flooded, according to the latest weather report.

Last weekend the monsoon rain caused mudslides, which killed more than 30 people in Mumbai alone.