Disasters & Accidents

Nearly 100 killed, thousands trapped as rain, floods devastate north India

(Update 1: updates with casualties, overall situation)

New Delhi, Jul 13 (EFE).- At least 98 people have been killed over the past two weeks by torrential rains and floods in north India, even as authorities are working tirelessly to rescue thousands who remain trapped or cut-off in the mountains, officials said Thursday.

The disaster management authority of the state of Himachal Pradesh said that 88 people had been killed in rain-related incidents since Jun. 24, while 16 remained missing.

At least 10 people have been killed in neighboring Punjab, the state’s disaster management and revenue minister Brahm Shankar Jimpa confirmed to local media outlets.

Himachal Pradesh has registered 392.8 mm rainfall since the beginning of July, more than double of the average rainfall for the period, which is marked by the arrival of monsoon.

This has resulted in landslides and flooding that have damaged highways and left several parts of the predominantly mountainous state cut-off from the rest, while around 10,000 tourists remain stuck according to a tweet by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.

In Punjab too, rain during the first two weeks of July has been double of the long-term average and led to widespread flooding.

Meanwhile parts of capital New Delhi woke up submerged under water on Thursday due to the historic flooding of the Yamuna River, forcing authorities to evacuate thousands of people due to heavy rains in north India that have left at least 41 dead.

“The water level of the Yamuna River continues to rise,” noted city Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who requested the cooperation of residents in areas near the river for the evacuations.

“Saving lives is the most important thing,” Kejriwal said.

The city authorities have ordered the closure of public and private schools in the flooded areas and set up relief camps for people displaced by the waters.

The flooding of water treatment plants near the river has also triggered a water supply crisis, as authorities announced that supplies would be cut off by up to 25 percent until water recedes.

Submerged cars, inundated markets, people navigating waist-deep floodwaters, and chocked streets were scenes in the affected areas of the city of 22 million inhabitants.

According to official data, the water level of the Yamuna River in the capital reached 208.51 meters, surpassing the danger mark and the highest recorded water level in the river in 1978, which was 207.49 meters.

The government predicted that the waters would continue to rise throughout the day.

In its latest bulletin, the Indian Meteorological Department maintained the alert for heavy precipitation in parts of Himachal Pradesh and the neighboring Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh states.

Heavy rains cause significant human and material damage each year in South Asian countries, especially during the monsoon period between May and September. EFE


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