Landslides in western India kill five, while floods trap more

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Landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains hit parts of western India, killing at least five people and leading to the overnight rescue of more than 1,000 other people trapped by floodwaters, an official said Friday.

The dead were killed in three landslides in Raigad district in western Maharashtra state, said District Collector Nidhi Chaudhary. Many of those rescued were stranded on rooftops and even on top of buses on highways, she said.

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Chaudhary said the rains had slowed and water levels were coming down Friday, but access to badly hit areas was still blocked, hampering rescue operations.

Elsewhere in the region, another 200 people in Ratnagiri district were rescued from hilly areas on Thursday after the heavy rains, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

In the coastal town of Chiplun, home to 70,000 people, more than half the area was flooded, PTI reported.

B.N, Patil, district administrator of Ratnagiri, said he has sought the help of the army, coast guard and the National Disaster Response Force for rescue operations.

An Indian navy statement said it has deployed helicopters for evacuating stranded people and sent rescue teams with boats to the region.

Last weekend, more than 30 people were killed in landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains in and around Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital.

Disasters caused by landslides and flooding are common in India during the June-September monsoon season, when heavy rains weaken the foundations of structures that are often poorly built.

The monsoon is crucial for rain-fed crops planted during the season but the rains often cause extensive damage and kill scores of people each year.

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