Floods and landslides kill at least 50 people in India

Heavy monsoon rains wreaked havoc in northern and eastern areas over the weekend, with more forecast

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At least 50 people have been killed in northern and eastern India in floods and landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains at the weekend.

Officials said that at least 22 people were killed in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh alone, where heavy rains have wreaked havoc and caused landslides and dozens of flash floods since August 19.

Eight members of one family died after becoming trapped under debris of their house after a landslide hit Kashan village, in Mandi district, late on Saturday.

Another landslide in the mountainous Chamba district killed at least three people.

Elsewhere in the Himalayan state, 11 people were killed and more than 20 injured in weather-related incidents, amid widespread damage to road infrastructure. Nearly 750 roads were damaged in landslides and flash floods, said state officials.

“The state has been facing both the loss of lives and properties for the last three days because of heavy rains. We have lost about 22 people. I am pained with the incidents of deaths and destruction,” said state chief minister Jairam Thakur after visiting Kashan village on Monday.

“I am still in disbelief with the level of destruction and damage … it is unbelievable.”

Huts are partially submerged in floodwater following heavy rains in Jagatsinghpur, Odisha, India, on August 20. Reuters

In Dharamshala district — home to the highest cricket ground in the world — a 64-year rainfall record was broken, authorities said.

During a 12-hour period over Friday and Saturday, 333 millimetres of rain were recorded in Dharamsala, the Himachal Pradesh State Disaster Response Force said.

It beat the previous record of 316 millimetres that fell over 24 hours on August 6, 1958.

Four people were killed and several were missing in neighbouring Uttarakhand state after rivers burst their banks and washed away bridges.

Cloudbursts also hit the three districts of Dehradun, Pauri and Tehri in the state.

More than 20 tourists were evacuated after they were left stranded at a resort in Maldevta in Dehradun, as heavy rain fell on Sunday.

Massive floods also wreaked havoc in the eastern state of Odisha, after downpours caused rivers to burst their banks.

More than 800,000 people have been displaced from their homes in the state and more than 120,000 evacuated from the affected areas in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts on Monday.

Officials said 58 teams of national and state rescue forces and police were sent to carry out rescue and relief work.

Odisha was already having to deal with less severe floods in the Mahanadi river system. Flooding caused by heavy rain has affected more than 700,000 people since August 17.

Six people, including children, were washed away in the neighbouring state of Jharkhand, after the waters of the Nalkari river swelled on Saturday.

Extreme rain also caused flooding in parts of the north-western state of Rajasthan, as rivers burst their banks. To ease the pressure, authorities released about 7,646 cubic metres of water a second from a dam in Kota on Monday.

The India Meteorological Department has predicted heavy rainfall in central Madhya Pradesh state on Monday.

Updated: August 22, 2022, 2:36 PM
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