At least 36 people have been killed in landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, officials said on Friday.
All the deaths occurred in three landslides in the state's Raigad district, some 70 kms from capital Mumbai, on Thursday, where several houses were swept away following heavy rains and consequent flooding.
"While 32 people died in Taliye village, four people were killed in Mahad city. Rescue operations are still on," Raigad district collector Nidhi Chaudhary told the media.
In the neighbouring rain-hit Satara district, some 22 people are feared trapped at two different locations. "Choppers have been pressed into action to ferry people to safer locations," Satara's police chief Ajay Kumar Bansal said.
Local TV channels beamed footage of live rescue operations in both the districts.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to offer condolences to the families of the deceased. "Anguished by the loss of lives due to a landslide in Raigad, Maharashtra. My condolences to the bereaved families. I wish the injured a speedy recovery."
"The situation in Maharashtra due to heavy rains is being closely monitored and assistance is being provided to the affected," the PM added.
Maharashtra is experiencing the heaviest July rains in four decades.
Barely five-six days back, some 30 people were killed in house collapses triggered by heavy monsoon rains in Mumbai. The deaths occurred in the hilly Chembur area, a suburb, and in the neighbouring Vikhroli area.
The Indian PM then announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased.
Building collapses are common in India, particularly during the monsoon months of June, July and August. Poor construction quality is often blamed for such collapses.