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05 December 2023

Death toll in western India dam breach climbs to 15


Rescuers in western India say they have recovered three more bodies, raising the death toll to 15 after a small dam breached and flooded half a dozen villages following heavy monsoon rains.

Datta Bhadakawad, a civil administrator in Maharashtra state's Ratnagiri district, says rescue teams recovered the three bodies on Thursday morning. The Tiware dam breached late Tuesday during incessant rains and swept away nearly a dozen homes. At least eight are still missing.

Heavy monsoon rains in Maharashtra have led to at least 34 deaths since Monday night from collapsed walls and drownings. Dozens of others have been injured.

The worst-hit city was India's financial and entertainment capital, Mumbai, where at least 24 people died and over 60 others were injured.

Six dead, 18 missing after Indian dam breached

Six people were killed and at least 18 were missing on Wednesday after the heaviest monsoon rains in a decade breached a dam in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, authorities said.

"Using drones, we have located six dead bodies and over 18 people are still missing," Alok Awasthy, spokesman for India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), told AFP.

"We have deployed two teams after the Tiware dam breach occurred last night and are looking for survivors," Awasthy added.

Besides NDRF, police teams and government officials were also looking for survivors in Ratnagiri, 275 kilometres (170 miles) from Mumbai.

On Tuesday, a wall collapsed in a Mumbai slum because of the rains, killing at least 22 people and injuring scores as the deluge crippled India's sprawling financial capital.

Six labourers also died in the nearby city of Pune when another wall subsided.

On Wednesday rains continued to lash the coastal city of 20 million people, bringing it to a virtual standstill as flooding cut train lines, closed the airport's main runway and caused traffic misery.

Building collapses and dam breaches are common during the monsoon in India due to dilapidated structures that buckle under the weight of continuous rain.

India's weather department has warned of "extremely heavy rainfall" in parts of Mumbai in the coming days.

According to Skymet Weather, a private-weather tracking agency, Mumbai faces serious risks of flooding with more than 200 millimetres (eight inches) of rain expected in the next few days.

Photos: AFP/AP