Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

'Turkey is the biggest jail for journalists in the world'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The evolution of the Presidential portrait

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Fillon's new health program: a sweeter pill to swallow

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

1.5 million fewer tourists visited Paris in 2016

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

NATO chief Stoltenberg: US is 'strongly committed to Alliance'

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

South Sudan's refugee crisis has reached catastrophic proportions, the UN warns

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Famine in South Sudan: More than 100,000 people face starvation

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Last Night in Sweden'? Trump's comment causes confusion

Read more

THE DEBATE

Mosul offensive: New phase in battle for Iraq's second city (part 1)

Read more

Asia-pacific

Flash floods leave scores dead in northern India

© afp

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-06-18

Early monsoon rains brought flash floods and landslides to the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in northern India, leaving at least 60 people dead and stranding thousands, officials said Tuesday.

Torrential rains have triggered flash floods and landslides in northern India, leaving at least 60 people feared dead and thousands stranded after the monsoon covered the country ahead of schedule, officials said Tuesday.

Authorities have called in military helicopters to try to rescue marooned residents and pilgrims after homes and roads were washed away in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, officials said.

"We are unable to confirm the number of deaths since most of the communication lines have broken down across the state," the minister for disaster and relief in Uttarakhand said.

"But at least 60 people are feared dead and nearly 50,000 are stranded," Yashpal Arya told AFP.

River water levels are continuing to rise across the state, clogging roads and leaving hundreds of pilgrims stranded on their way to visit Hindu shrines, officials said.

Television footage showed bridges, houses and other buildings crashing down and being washed away by the swirling waters. A swollen river is seen engulfing a giant statue of Lord Shiva in the tourist city of Rishikesh in Uttarakhand.

Fresh rains in Uttarakhand were hampering rescue efforts, with teams from the national disaster management authority camping in the popular pilgrimage town of Haridwar awaiting air lift to the worst-affected districts, officials said.

The state government was also readying food parcels and drinking water to be dropped by helicopters to remote villages cut-off by the torrential rains.

"The situation is very grim. The meteorological office has predicted that the rain will continue for another three days at least," government official Amit Chandola was quoted by television stations as saying.

In the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh, at least eight people were feared dead, a local police official told AFP by telephone.

A few villages close to the border with China have also seen unseasonal snowfall, leaving dozens of shepherds and thousands of sheep stranded, a village headman told AFP.

India's farming sector depends on the annual monsoon, which lashes the subcontinent from June to September, usually bringing some flooding.

But the monsoon has arrived early this year, catching many by surprise. The country has received 68 percent more rain than normal for this time of year, data from the India Meteorological Department shows.

The normal expected rainfall in the country from June 1 to June 17 is 67.2 millimetres, but 112.9 millimetres of rain has been measured so far, the data showed.

(AFP)

 

Date created : 2013-06-18

COMMENT(S)