Massive Floods, Landslides Kill 116, Displace Others in India, Nepal
By Staff, Agencies
More than 100 people lost their lives in several days of massive flooding and devastating landslides that swept away roads and houses in both India and Nepal, officials said Wednesday, with scores more missing.
In Uttarakhand in northern India, officials said that 46 people had died in recent days with 11 missing. In Kerala in the south chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the death toll had hit 39 there.
At least 30 of those in Uttarakhand were killed in seven separate incidents in the Nainital region early Tuesday, after cloudbursts, an ultra-intense deluge of rain, triggered a series of landslides and destroyed several structures.
Five of the dead were from a single family whose house was buried by a massive landslide, local official Pradeep Jain told AFP.
Another landslide in the northern Almora district killed five people after huge rocks and a wall of mud demolished and engulfed their home.
At least six others were killed on Monday in two remote districts of the Himalayan state.
The Indian Meteorological Department extended and widened its weather alert on Tuesday, predicting heavy to very heavy rainfall in the region.
The weather office said several areas were drenched by more than 400 millimeters of rainfall on Monday, causing landslides and flooding.
Authorities ordered the closure of schools and banned all religious and tourist activities in the state.
More than 100 tourists were stuck inside a resort in Ramgarh after the overflowing Kosi River deluged several areas.
In Nepal, disasters management division official Humkala Pandey said: "In the last three days, there have been 31 deaths from floods and landslides triggered by heavy post-monsoon rainfalls across the country. Forty-three people are missing."
He added: "It's still raining in many places. We are still compiling data from the field. The death toll could go up further."
Landslides are a regular danger in the Himalayan region, but experts say they are becoming more common as rains become increasingly erratic and glaciers melt.
Experts also blame construction work on hydroelectric dams and deforestation.