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Death toll from monsoon rains fury nears 40 in India

A motorist drives through a flooded highway on the outskirts of Indian capital New Delhi after heavy monsoon rains on July 9, 2023. — AFP
A motorist drives through a flooded highway on the outskirts of Indian capital New Delhi after heavy monsoon rains on July 9, 2023. — AFP

Nearly 40 people were reported dead due to landslides and other rain-related incidents as torrential rains continue to batter large swathes of northern India for over two days, local media reported on Tuesday.

Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted more rains for the entire week after continuous downpours wreak havoc in the country, heavily inundating urban areas, where residents were seen wading through knee-deep water. 

Television footage showed flash floods and landslides triggered by torrential rain, washing away vehicles, demolishing buildings and ripping down bridges.

The flash-floods and landslides triggered by incessant rains caused the most casualties, 18, in Himachal Pradesh which remains the worst-hit state, while nine people were killed in Punjab and Haryana each, seven in Rajasthan and three in Uttar Pradesh.

The authorities in Himachal Pradesh issued a flood warning for today, while red and orange warnings have been issued for some parts of the state.

With several other rivers in the region in spate, the water level in river Yamuna exceeded the danger mark and was recorded above 206 metres, triggering an orange alert in New Delhi, India Today reported citing the country’s water authorities.

After New Delhi, schools in the state of Punjab were also closed under the rain warning.

Meanwhile, the authorities step up the relief and rescue operations in the affected areas with multiple control rooms set up in the capital city.

Official data shows monsoon rains across the country in the first week of July have already produced about 2% more rainfall than normal.

The summer monsoon brings South Asia around 80% of its annual rainfall, as well as death and destruction due to flooding and landslides.

The rainfall is hard to forecast and varies considerably, but scientists say climate change is making the monsoon stronger and more erratic.

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