India: Navy Rescues People Stranded on Train in Floods

Hundreds in India evacuated from train stuck in monsoon floodwaters. The Mahalaxmi Express left Mumbai late Friday for Kolhapur but got only 60km before it became stranded after a river burst its banks in torrential rain covering the tracks. The train was stuck for several hours in Thane district before authorities called in the Indian navy and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) with helicopters, boats, and divers. Indian navy helicopters and emergency service boats came to the rescue of more than 800 people stranded on a train in floods near Mumbai on Saturday. Some reports have the number of people affected at over 1,000.

Indian Railways said more than 600 people were rescued within four hours of the operation starting. There were nine pregnant women among at least 800 passengers, an NDRF spokesman told AFP. Aerial images showed boats taking people wearing life jackets away from the stricken train, trapped in a sea of muddy brown water that covered surrounding fields. Ambulances and at least 37 doctors were deployed to treat passengers, who were also given food and water, Indian Railways said.

A company spokesman added that a “special relief train” would take people to their final destinations. More than 250 people have died in flooding across the country in past two weeks, with Assam and Bihar states in the north the worst hit. The army said it had rescued more than 150 people stranded in their homes in Assam’s Nalbari district in recent days.

>Alma Siddiqua


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