July 3, 2019 / 4:57 AM / 9 months ago

Dam bursts in India after rains, killing 11

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Heavy monsoon rains caused the breach of a small dam in western India, washing away dozens of homes and killing at least 11 people with 13 missing, a government official said on Wednesday.

Seasonal rains have crippled India’s financial center of Mumbai this week, disrupting rail and air traffic in the city of 18 million, while wall collapses have killed more than 30 people.

Tuesday’s breach of the Tiware dam in the coastal district of Ratnagiri, nearly 275 km (170 miles) south of Mumbai, washed away dozens of homes, an official of the Maharashtra state government said.

Eleven bodies have been recovered and search teams are looking for 13 missing villagers, but the chances of finding them alive are remote, the official said.

State officials have asked the National Disaster Response Force to help find the missing.

Villagers had complained months ago about cracks in the 14-year-old dam and repairs were made, state Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan told reporters.

The state government has ordered an investigation, he said.

In every monsoon season, from June to September, India suffers fatal incidents of building and wall collapses as rainfall weakens the foundations of poorly-built structures.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Darren Schuettler

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