The western Indian city of Pune was battered by 140 mm (5.5 inches) of rain in 48 hours this week, in what the Maharashtra state chief minister called an “unprecedented” level of monsoon rain.
“Last night in Pune there was a lot of heavy rain that developed into an unprecedented storm,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday, in a video he tweeted.
“Because of this, a large amount of water entered low-lying areas and caused a lot of damage. There is the possibility that some people were swept away and some people were killed after a wall collapsed over there,” he added.
Most of the rain came on Wednesday, and carried over until early Thursday. 15,000 people were evacuated from Baramati, one of the worst-affected areas, and 38 emergency shelters were set up, officials say.
At least 14 people have died, including a 9-year-old boy, according to district and state officials. Prashant Ranpise, chief fire officer of the Pune Fire Brigade, said many of the deaths resulted from buildings and walls collapsing during flash floods.
Another nine people are still missing, according to Naval Kishore Kumar, the Pune district collector.
School students waded through shin-deep water to get to school, and motorcyclists drove through flooded streets. Apartment complexes were flooded, and residents stepped through mud-covered floors to clear debris from their homes.
After the rains receded late Thursday, images from Pune show the aftermath — cars overturned and washed away, and the bodies of drowned cattle scattered on the road.
Six of the deaths happened in urban areas, with the other five occurring in rural parts of Pune, which lies about 124 miles (199.5 kilometers) south-west of financial hub Mumbai. The National Disaster Response Force, a federal agency, has been deployed, and there are 275 personnel are working on rescue and relief operations in the affected areas, said Kumar. The death toll may rise as the full extent of the damage becomes clear.
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