Red alerts issued
The death toll from monsoon-triggered landslides and building collapses jumped to 127 Sunday, Indian authorities said, with more than 135,000 people evacuated and dozens still missing.
Torrential downpours have lashed India’s western coast in recent days, sparking landslides near the financial capital Mumbai and causing the worst floods in decades in the resort state of Goa.
Rescue efforts have been slowed by landslides in the neighbouring district of Raigad that have blocked crucial roads including the Mumbai-Goa Highway.
The Indian Navy deployed seven rescue teams equipped with rubber boats, life jackets and lifebuoys to the affected areas, along with a helicopter to airlift marooned residents.
Specialist Navy divers accompanied each team with diving equipment.
India’s meteorological department has issued red alerts for several regions in the state, indicating that heavy rainfall will continue for the next few days.
Flooding and landslides are common during India’s treacherous monsoon season, which also often sees poorly constructed buildings buckle after days of non-stop rain.
But climate change is making monsoons stronger, according to a report from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in April.
It warned of potentially severe consequences for food, farming and the economy affecting nearly a fifth of the world’s population.
Roxy Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, said the latest flooding was “unprecedented, but not unexpected”.
“We already see a threefold rise in widespread extreme rains that cause floods across India,” he tweeted.