Ratnagiri dam: Eighteen die as India breach floods village

Dam in Ratnagiri district Image copyright BBC Marathi

Eighteen people have died and six others missing after heavy rainfall caused a dam breach which flooded a village in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

Houses were swept away as flood waters engulfed Tiware Bhendwadi village.

Residents told BBC Marathi that they had heard a loud noise before the waters rushed in. Many had been eating their dinner at the time.

Maharashtra has seen torrential rains over the past week.

Floods have also caused wall collapses in many parts of the state, causing several deaths. The state capital Mumbai was also submerged this week, causing 18 deaths and plunging the city - India's financial capital - into chaos.

BBC Marathi's Swati Patil-Rajgolkar says that the damage in the village is so severe, only a patch of bare land remains where the houses once stood. She says survivors are caught between relief over their escape and grief over the deaths of family members.

Residents allege that they had previously complained to authorities about leakages in the dam, and said no action was taken.

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Media captionMumbai: Deadly floods bring India's financial capital to standstill

About 100m of the 308m-long dam was washed away, officials told The Times of India newspaper.

"Those who have lost their homes have been temporarily shifted to a school," an official told BBC Marathi. He added that those affected will be compensated with new homes in the next four months.

The state's chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, has also reacted to the incident.

"We have been continuously reviewing the relief work and will investigate the reasons behind the incident. Strict action will be taken against those responsible for not acting earlier," he added.

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