NDRF rescues 151 tourists, hundreds of villagers stranded in Shahapur floods | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

NDRF rescues 151 tourists, hundreds of villagers stranded in Shahapur floods

ByAnamika Gharat
Jul 08, 2024 09:19 AM IST

NDRF rescues 151 tourists and villagers stranded in Shahapur due to flooding near Mumbai; homes flooded, vehicles submerged, animals drowned

Thane: The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Sunday rescued 151 tourists and hundreds of villagers who were stranded in Shahapur taluka, around 70 km from Mumbai, due to flooding amid heavy rain in the region.

Close to 200 homes were flooded and 15-20 vehicles were submerged in and around the villages of Vasind and Gujarati Pada. HT Photo
Close to 200 homes were flooded and 15-20 vehicles were submerged in and around the villages of Vasind and Gujarati Pada. HT Photo

Close to 200 homes were flooded and 15-20 vehicles were submerged in and around the villages of Vasind and Gujarati Pada, according to officials. Shahapur and the nearby Murbad taluka received 90 mm and 115 mm of rainfall, respectively, in the 24 hours up to 8.30 am on Sunday.

Tourists staying near Vasind village in Shahapur woke up on Sunday morning to find floodwaters having engulfed several houses. After one of them informed the district’s disaster management department, a team of 40 NDRF personnel launched a rescue operation and safely evacuated over 150 tourists from the flooded area using boats and vehicles.

“Families from Thane and Mumbai were stranded at Shristi Farm in Vasind, situated near the riverside, severely affected by rising water levels overnight,” said NDRF inspector Sushant Kumar Singh. “We received the distress call and promptly arrived at the scene in the morning. The main road was 2 km away from the spot. Upon arrival, we reassured their safety, particularly comforting several scared children. Initially, we rescued them using boats. As the water levels receded later, we safely transported them out using vehicles.”

Heavy rainfall over the last four to five days in Shahapur has caused rivers like the Bharangi and Bhatsa to overflow. Early Sunday morning, while residents were asleep, water levels suddenly rose, flooding the village of Gujarati Pada with water reaching up to five feet. Around 60-70 houses were flooded with river water, and 15-20 vehicles were submerged, according to the district collector. In Vasind, 120 houses were affected, out of which 10-15 were destroyed. According to the Shahapur tahsildar, hundreds of animals tragically drowned during the flood.

The bridge over the Kalu river in the village of Chikhale was submerged under flood water. As a result, around 18 villages in Shahapur and Murbad have been cut off from the region. Suppliers of milk and vegetables are also stranded, affecting their access to nearby towns.

Hundreds of people affected by the deluge relocated to relatives’ homes or nearby shelters until the floodwater receded. Akash Bharinge, 40, a resident of Gujarati Pada, said, “I had bought a new Creta car just three days ago to celebrate a family member’s birthday. Unfortunately, during the night, when water levels rose unexpectedly, the roads became impassable. Our priority was rescuing people, and in the chaos, my car was swept away by the river’s current. One of our neighbours lost 150 hens in the flood as well.”

Villagers from Gujarati Bag later came onto the roads to protest against the civic administration’s alleged negligence in allowing illegal construction on the riverside, which they said was responsible for the flooding. Shahapur MLA Daulat Daroda visited the site and inspected the damaged homes. He then asked the district collector and other officials to take immediate action against the alleged illegal constructions. The Shahapur nagar panchayat head also ordered to remove the illegal constructions by Monday.

Amit Sanap, the district officer for Shahapur, stated, “Over 20 villages and padas were affected, but the situation is under control. Three families were rescued from dangerous circumstances. Additional staff has been deployed to assess the situation comprehensively. Sadly, people have lost animals, vehicles, and other valuable possessions. We are committed to helping them recover and return to normalcy.”

A team of NDRF personnel and firefighters also rescued 16 villagers in the Palghar district on Sunday afternoon, according to a district official. A group of villagers from Saiwan in Vasai, who were working at their farms, got stranded when the area got flooded after water levels rose in the nearby Tansa dam, said Vivekanand Kadam, chief of the district disaster management cell.

The catchment area received heavy rains in the morning, he said. The NDRF and local firefighters were mobilised around 12.30 pm, and the villagers, including eight women, were brought to safety in two hours, he added.

As part of the monsoon preparedness, NDRF teams are deployed in parts of Mumbai, Thane and Palghar districts, an NDRF official said. There are 13 teams with 32 to 35 personnel each in different parts of the state, including Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur. Five teams are at the NDRF head office in Pune, he added.

With inputs from PTI

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