The flood situation in western Maharashtra has improved with the water levels of two crucial rivers in the worst-hit Sangli and Kolhapur districts receding on Monday and relief and rescue operations going on in full swing.

The death toll due to flood and rain-related incidents in Sangli, Kolhapur, Satara, Pune and Solapur districts in the last eight days has risen to 43 with recovery of three bodies while three persons are still missing, a senior officer said on Monday.

Sangli alone has reported 21 deaths, followed by Kolhapur, Satara and Pune.

Meanwhile, in a relief to truckers and motorists, the Mumbai-Bengaluru National Highway (NH-4), which was closed since the last six days due to flooding, was partially opened for traffic in Kolhapur district after the water receded.

The efforts of the administration to bring back the situation to normal received a boost with the water levels of the Krishna and Panchganga rivers in Sangli and Kolhapur, respectively, coming down further, and rains taking a break. However, the rivers are still flowing above the danger mark.

Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said that 1,070 jawans of various agencies are carrying out rescue and relief operations with the help of 164 boats in the affected areas.

“Of the 43 deaths, Sangli district alone has reported 21 deaths followed by Kolhapur, Satara and Pune reporting seven deaths each while one person has died in Solapur district. Besides, one person each is missing in Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara districts,” said Mhaisekar.

He said the water level of the Krishna river at the Irwin bridge in Sangli was recorded at 50.01 feet this afternoon against the danger level of 45 feet.

However, despite water levels going down, 147 roads still remained closed for traffic as a precautionary measure in Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Pune and Solapur, Mhaisekar added.

He said the Koyna dam in Satara district, which has the water storage capacity at 105 TMC, currently has 102 TMC water.

“Compared to the water inflow of 44,357 cusec, the water discharge from the Koyna dam is being maintained at 53,882 cusec. The water inflow in the Almatti dam in Karnataka bordering Kolhapur is 6,11,667 cusec as against the discharge of 5,70,000 cusec,” said Mhaisekar.

Kolhapur and Sangli districts have been battling unprecedented floods since the last eight days. The floods were triggered by huge release of water from dams in western Maharashtra and from Almatti, causing largescale destruction and displacement of over four lakh people.

As many as 761 villages in 69 talukas have been affected by floods.

Meanwhile, traffic movement was allowed between Kolhapur and Belgaum in Karnataka through one lane on Shiroli bridge of the six-lane NH-4 where thousands of vehicles were stuck since last week after it submerged in flood waters.

Kerala death toll 76

With rains subsiding in many parts of Kerala, search operations are on in landslide-hit Kavalappara and Puthumala in Malappuram and Wayanad districts, as the toll in the monsoon fury climbed to 76 and 2.87 lakh people have sought refuge in relief camps.

The toll is expected to go up as 50 people are still missing in Malappuram.

There is no ‘red alert’ of torrential rains for any of the 14 districts on Tuesday, but “orange alert” has been issued for six districts.

The northern districts of Malappuram, Wayanad and Kozhikode, and Idukki in central Kerala were the worst hit in the torrential rains.

Malappuram was rocked by a series of landslips triggered by heavy rain since August 8 at Kavalappara and Kottakunnu in which 24 people have died.

With the recovery of more bodies, including 24 from Malappuram, 17 from Kozhikode and 12 from Wayanad since August 8, the toll has gone up to 76.

In Malappuram, 59,351 people have been lodged in 240 camps.

In neighbouring Wayanad, which was also rocked by a massive landslide at Puthumala, 12 people have lost their lives and seven are still missing.

In the 212 relief camps in the district over 35,000 people have taken shelter, an official release said.

In Kozhikode district, 17 deaths have been reported and over 60,000 people shifted to 209 camps.