Saturday, 27 June 2015

Indian monsoon rains kill 81 and leave over 9,000 stranded

Dozens of people have been killed as monsoon rains engulfed wide areas of Gujarat state in western India and thousands of others have been forced to leave their flooded homes.

Around 9,000 people were evacuated to higher ground in rural areas that have been worst hit by the rains. At least 81 people have been killed, many of them swept away by flood waters and mudslides, or buried in collapsed houses, according to Ridhi Butt, an official with the National Disaster Response Force.

More than 1,000 Hindu pilgrims were also stranded on the mountain paths leading to the Hindu shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath in northern Uttrakhand state, because of the rains. Workers are clearing roads to restore the pilgrimage route, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

The monsoon has covered nearly the entire country, with the rains arriving days ahead of schedule. As well as Gujarat, parts of Assam state in the north-east were flooded and a swollen river breached its banks in the northern Jammu-Kashmir state.

India’s financial capital of Mumbai was also badly hit last week when torrential showers closed public transport and led to a breakdown in public services.

The rains follow a heatwave last month that killed more than 2,000 people across the country, with India’s Meteorological Department saying that it expected a drier July than average.

Neighbouring Pakistan has had a heatwave of its own to contend with in recent days, and Anwar Kazmi, of the Edhi Foundation, a private charity that runs a network of ambulances and mortuaries claimed that the death toll there had reached more than 1,150 around the around the port city of Karachi.

Saturday 27 June 2015


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