NEW DELHI (Reuters) -More than 150 people have died in flooding across India and Nepal in recent days, as heavy late monsoon rains triggered flash floods, destroyed homes, crops and infrastructure and left thousands stranded.
The north Indian state of Uttarakhand has been especially badly hit, with 48 confirmed deaths, SA Murugesan, secretary of the state’s disaster management department, told Reuters.
In Nainital, a popular tourist destination in the Himalayan state, the town’s main lake broke its banks, submerging the main thoroughfare and damaging bridges and rail tracks.
In nearby Chamoli district, rescuers from India’s paramilitary National Disaster Response Force continued to search debris following landslides caused by the heavy rains.
India’s federal interior minister Amit Shah surveyed badly hit areas on Thursday.
“Crops and homes have been wiped out, which is a severe blow to families already grappling with the devastating fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Azmat Ulla, a senior official at the International Federation of Red Crescent Societies.
“The people of Nepal and India are sandwiched between the pandemic and worsening climate disasters, heavily impacting millions of lives and livelihoods.”
Some 42 people have died in the last week in the southern Indian state of Kerala, according to a statement from the chief minister’s office.
In neighboring Nepal, at least 77 people have died.
India’s annual monsoon rains usually run from June to September.
(Reporting by Saurabh Sharma in Lucknow and Jose Devasia in Kochi, Writing by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Nick Macfie)