India floods, landslides kill more than 270

Heavy rains in parts of four Indian states – Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat – cause widespread damage.

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Heavy rain and landslides forced hundreds of thousands of people to take shelter in government-run relief camps [Reuters]

Floods and landslides have killed more than 270 people in India, displaced over one million and inundated thousands of homes across six states, authorities said after two weeks of heavy monsoon rains.

The rains from June to September are a lifeline for rural India, delivering some 70 percent of the country’s rainfall, but they also cause death and destruction each year.

The states of Kerala and Karnataka in the south, along with Maharashtra and Gujarat in the west, were among the hardest hit by floods that washed away thousands of hectares of summer-sown crops and damaged roads and rail lines.

At least 95 people were killed and more than 50 are missing in Kerala, where heavy rainfall triggered dozens of landslides last week and trapped more than 100 others.

About 190,000 people are still living in relief camps in the state, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, but he added some were returning home as flood waters receded.

People commute through water-logged roads after heavy rains in Ahmedabad
People commute through water-logged roads after heavy rains in Ahmedabad [Amit Dave/Reuters]

In neighbouring Karnataka, home to the technology hub Bengaluru, 54 people died and 15 are missing after rivers burst their banks when authorities released water from dams. Several structures at the ancient town of Hampi, a World Heritage Site, were also flooded.

Nearly 700,000 people have been evacuated in the state.

Heavy rainfall is expected in the next two days in parts of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat, as well as the central state of Madhya Pradesh, according to weather officials.

In Maharashtra, which includes the financial capital, Mumbai, 48 people died but flood waters were receding, said a state official.

“We are now trying to restore electricity and drinking water supplies,” he said.

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India deployed the army to work with the local emergency personnel for search, rescue and relief operations  [STR/Reuters]

In Madhya Pradesh, the biggest producer of soybeans, heavy rains killed 32 people and damaged crops, authorities said.

In Gujarat, 31 people died in rain-related incidents, while landslides killed nearly a dozen people in the northern hilly state of Uttarakhand.

Last year, Kerala was hit by its worst floods in almost a century and is still recovering from the extensive loss of life and damage to public infrastructure including highways, railways and roads.

Some 450 people lost their lives there in 2018.

India has deployed the army, navy and air force to work with local emergency personnel for search, rescue and relief operations in the flooded regions.

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Source: News Agencies