Days of torrential rains in southeast India have unleashed floods that have blocked roads, halted trains and forced the evacuation of nearly 70,000 people from hundreds of low-lying villages.

The Press Trust of India on Saturday cited Andhra Pradesh state officials as saying that 39 people had died in flood-related incidents since the rains began Monday.

Villages were inundated and crops were being ruined in the so-called Rice Bowl of India. Many drowned when swept away by surging waters or were killed when weakened walls collapsed onto them.

Railway services have also been suspended along routes where tracks were damaged.

The local Disaster Management Department said evacuated residents were sheltering in 178 camps, while relief workers in boats and helicopters were working to help or rescue hundreds of thousands stranded by floods that have swamped both coastal and inland regions along rivers.

The region was hit earlier this month by a powerful cyclone that prompted authorities to evacuate nearly a million people in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states.

India's Meteorological Department on Saturday forecast the rains to continue for at least another day.

Source: Agencies