Days of heavy and persistent rain have triggered flooding across eastern India.

Thirty nine people have died in the floods since the rains began on Monday. Many of those who lost their lives were killed when they were swept away by flood waters or were crushed when their homes collapsed on them.

The floods have inundated home and businesses and destroyed crops, a major problem in a region known as the Rice Bowl of India.

More than 70,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying villages, and train routes have been suspended because some of the lines are underwater.

This is the time of the northeast monsoon across India, also called the winter monsoon. It is the wettest time of the year for many eastern parts of the country, but the rains over the past week have been exceptionally heavy.

Kalingapatam reported 666mm of rain in just 5 days, and nearly half of that fell in 24 hours. This is approximately three times the average rainfall that would be expected in the entire month.

The area currently affected by the severe weather is the same region that was hit just a few weeks earlier by Cyclone Phailin. A major catastrophe was avoided due to the diligence of the emergency services who evacuated nearly a million people from the path of the storm.

Cyclone Phailin destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, but the death toll was kept low.

The rain is now expected to ease across the region, which will allow the flood water to slowly recede.

Source: Al Jazeera