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Death toll in Maharashtra reaches 987

By By Ramola Talwar Badam in Mumbai
August 03, 2005 13:23 IST
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The search for those feared killed in landslides or floods continued in and around Mumbai on Wednesday as the death toll in Maharashtra reached 987, an official said.

Nearly 50 people remained missing, and Maharashtra Chief Secretary Prem Kumar, a top state official, said, "We can't determine the final figure until everyone is accounted for. But it will be 1,000 plus."

The flooding and landslides have angered residents of Maharashtra, who blame the government for not building sewage and drainage systems that could handle torrential rains.

But Kumar insisted on Tuesday that no one could have anticipated the intensity of the rainfall in parts of Mumbai. A record 94 cm fell in a 24-hour period last Tuesday, shutting down the city and cutting it off from the rest of the country.

Kumar also pointed to the fact that government-ordered evacuations of people living near rivers and dams probably saved thousands of lives across the state in Maharashtra.

Some 84,000 people remained in temporary camps in schools and government buildings across the state on Wednesday while nearly 70,000 people had returned home.

Breaks in rainfall on Wednesday allowed aid workers to continue distributing food and other supplies to marooned villagers as well as residents of Mumbai.

After eight days of torrential rainfall, power was still being restored to sections of Mumbai's worst-hit northern neighborhoods, such as Kalina, Kurla and Saki Naka.

Television stations broadcast messages asking for medicine, disinfectants, blankets, clothes and drinking water for hundreds of thousands of flood-affected people.

Schools and colleges opened on Wednesday after a two-day break, ordered by the state government due to the heavy downpour.

Terrible Tuesday: Mumbai copes with a calamity
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By Ramola Talwar Badam in Mumbai
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