13 dead, four missing as Pune hit by heavy rain; 16k rescued
Heavy rain pounded Maharashtra’s Pune district on Wednesday night, triggering floods and wall collapses, killing at least 13 people and leaving four missing, as the June-to-September south-west monsoon wreaked havoc on its final leg, district officials said on Thursday.
Between 8 pm and 11.45 pm on Wednesday, Pune city and other parts of the district centred on it recorded more than 100mm of rainfall in which hundreds of cattle also perished. Schools and colleges of the district declared a holiday on Thursday because of the deluge.
Five people died in a wall collapse and three others were swept away by the Ambil Odha, a stream that carries water overflowing from the Katraj Lake. Another five deaths were reported from Khed Shivapur village near Pune. Four people, including two from the city and two from Purandar village, were still missing.
Searches were underway for the missing by the police and rescuers from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, Pune superintendent of police Sandip Patil said.
Locals said over 1,000 cattle died in the rain. Nearly 25 cows of the Shree Dugdhalay Dairy Farm in Sahakarnagar were washed away. “There is not a single cow left in our cowshed,” said the farm owner, Amit Aurange.
According to the Pune district administration, at least 150 houses were damaged because of a sudden surge of water from upstream after excess water was discharged from the Nazare dam.
As many as 2,000 vehicles were found submerged in the waterlogged areas of Sahakarnagar, Bibvewai and Dandekar Bridge in south-west Pune. Waterlogging was also reported from Ambil Odha of Sahakarnagar and surrounding areas.
At least 16,000 people, including those who had taken refuge on rooftops and trees, have been rescued from different parts of the district, officials said.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said the state government was monitoring the situation. “Pained to know about the loss of lives in and around Pune due to heavy rains. My deepest condolences to the families. We are providing all possible assistance needed. State disaster management officials and control room in continuous touch with Pune collector and PMC,” he tweeted.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) accused the Maharashtra disaster management cell of being in a “deep slumber”. NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik alleged that the chief minister was preoccupied by next month’s assembly elections “and nothing else,”observing that the latter was in New Delhi to attend an election-related meeting of his party leaders.