MUMBAI: 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 on 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.
The country’s monsoon rains in the week ending on Wednesday were below average for the fifth time in a row, although the deficit was the lowest since the start of the season, after it revived in central and western regions.
Monsoon rains are crucial for farm output and economic growth, as about 55 per cent of India’s arable land is rain-fed, and agriculture forms about 15 per cent of a $2.5-trillion economy that is the third biggest in Asia.
India received 6 per cent less rainfall than the 50-year average in the week ended on July 3, data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed.
Soybean and cotton-growing central regions received 43 per cent more rainfall in the week, while the rubber and tea-growing southern state of Kerala got 87 per cent lower rainfall.
India has received rain that is 28 per cent less than average since the monsoon season began on June 1.