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113 Killed in Western India Landslides 07/28 06:18

   

   NEW DELHI (AP) -- Days of landslides and flooding triggered by heavy monsoon 
rains in western India's Maharashtra state killed at least 113 people and 
injured 50, officials said Sunday, as rescuers scrambled to find at least 100 
missing.

   A government spokesperson, Sandhya Garware, said over 130,000 people were 
rescued from nearly 900 affected villages across the state. Many were stranded 
on rooftops or atop buses on highways. India's navy also said it deployed 
helicopters to evacuate stranded people and sent rescue teams with boats to the 
region.

   Officials said one of the worst-hit villages was Talai, 270 kilometers (168 
miles) south of Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra state and also India's 
financial and entertainment hub.

   The village of 59 households was buried by a massive landslide on Thursday, 
state official Sagar Pathak said. Rescuers recovered two more bodies on Sunday, 
bringing the number of villagers killed to 42, with around the same number 
still missing. Pathak said inclement weather, difficult terrain and large 
debris were hampering rescue efforts.

   Authorities deployed hundreds of rescuers to the affected areas to locate 
missing people and take the stranded to safety, with scores of soldiers 
assisting.

   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 rain often causes extensive damage and 
kills scores of people each year.

   Last weekend, more than 30 people were killed in landslides triggered by 
heavy monsoon rain in and around Mumbai.

   Experts say heavy rainfall along India's western coast is in line with how 
rainfall patterns have changed in the region in past years due to climate 
change, as the warming Arabian Sea is driving more cyclones and more intense 
rainfall over short periods of time.

 
 
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