Death toll from Indian floods reaches 158, hundreds of thousands evacuated


NEW DELHI/BENGALURU, 11th August, 2019 (WAM) -- The death toll from floods in the four Indian states rose to 158, news agencies quoted state authorities as saying on Sunday.

The death toll in three states - Kerala, Karnataka, and Maharashtra - reached 147, Reuters reported on Sunday.

Heavy rain and landslides forced hundreds of thousands of people to take shelter in relief camps, while train services were cancelled in several flood-hit areas.

In the southern state of Kerala, at least 57 people were killed in rain-related incidents while over 165,000 people were in relief camps in the state, Reuters quoted the state authorities as saying on Sunday.

"Several houses are still covered under 10-12 feet deep mud. This is hampering rescue work," state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Authorities worried that rescue operations would be hit by thunderstorms and rainfall predicted in some parts of Kerala.

Last year, more than 200 people were killed in Kerala and over five million affected in one of the worst floods in 100 years in the state.

In another southern state of Karnataka, several structures at world heritage site Hampi, an ancient town, were flooded. So far 60 people have died in rain-related incidents, said state chief minister B S Yediyurappa, adding nearly 227,000 people were staying in relief camps.

In the western state of Maharashtra, where the death toll stood at 30, the flood situation was improving, according to state-run All India Radio. However authorities said it would be difficult to restore rail services in some flood-hit areas within the next two weeks.

While Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra have been the worst hit this year, several other states including Gujarat, Assam and Bihar have also seen heavy damage due to floods, said the Reuters report.

Meanwhile, an Asian News International, ANI, report on Sunday said at least 11 people have lost their lives in the western state of Gujarat in the last 48 hour as incessant rains wreaked havoc in the state.

Rescue operation to evacuate people to a safer place is underway. So far, around 6,000 people have been moved to safety.

A policeman from the state received praise for his bravery and kindness. He carried two children on his shoulders for over 1.5 kilometres to rescue them from the floodwaters in Kalyanpur village of Morbi district in Gujarat.

Pruthviraj Jadeja, the policeman, braved fierce current floodwaters and strong winds to save the children, and received praise from the State Chief Minister Vijay Rupani who shared the video and lauded the officer on Twitter.

In the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, due to unrelenting rains, Thal-Munsiyari Road near Banik has been shut on Sunday after boulders and debris blocked the road.

Earlier on Sunday, in another incident, a huge boulder fell on the road and blocked the portion of the national highway-125 between Dharchula and Tawaghat in the state.

 

WAM/Hazem Hussein/Binsal AbdulKader