Monsoon in India: at least 144 dead, hundreds of thousands of evacuations

Floods from monsoon rains in southern and western India left at least 144 people dead and hundreds of thousands evacuated, Indian authorities said on Sunday.

The state of Kerala, a tourist region in southern India, is among the hardest hit areas, with a provisional toll of 67 deaths.

“At least 165,000 people have been transferred to more than 1,318 relief camps scattered in fourteen districts of the state,” a senior Kerala police official told AFP.

Bad weather and damaged infrastructure made rescue operations more difficult, he added.

A villager tries to save his animals from floods in the
Belgaum district, Karnataka, 11 August 2019 (AFP - STR)

A villager tries to save his animals from floods in the
Belgaum district, Karnataka, 11 August 2019 (AFP – STR)

Emergency rescue teams, Navy and Air Force personnel have contributed to operations across all weather-stricken areas.

In the neighboring state of Karnataka, the provisional toll is 34 deaths.

“At least 14 other people are still missing,” a local government official told AFP, “we have rescued about 480,000 people, more than 50,000 animals and installed about 1,100 camps that shelter more than 300,000 people.”

At least 136 roads and highways in the state have been damaged or cut by floods, said the official.

Aerial view of Kudala Sangama, an important pilgrimage center, flooded by floods in Bagalkot district, Karnataka, 10 August 2019 (AFP - STR)

Aerial view of Kudala Sangama, an important pilgrimage center, flooded by floods in Bagalkot district, Karnataka, 10 August 2019 (AFP – STR)

Rainfall has eased in the state of Maharashtra in western India, but some reservoirs in the region have received record amounts of water. “This is an unprecedented situation,” added the official, “we expect that flows will decrease in four to five days if it does not rain anymore.”

At least 27 people were killed in Maharashtra, where several major cities have been flooded for several days, according to the press.

Accidents caused by heavy rains in Gujarat, the home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in western India, killed at least 16 people.

Every year, monsoon rains are expected to replenish water supplies, but they also cost the lives of hundreds of people.

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