Landslides and floods kill 18 in northern India
August 18 2019 06:26 PM
Flood-affected residents of a low lying area on the banks of the Ganges river move their belongings
Flood-affected residents of a low lying area on the banks of the Ganges river move their belongings to drier ground at Sangam, as the water level of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers rises rapidly during monsoon rains in the region

Dpa/New Delhi

At least 18 people were killed and another 15 to 20 were missing in landslides and other incidents on Sunday prompted by severe rainfall in India's mountainous northern states, officials said.

Eighteen people died in Himachal Pradesh state in mudslides and wall collapses, a disaster management official in the state capital Shimla said.

Eight of the deaths occurred in Shimla district, where schools will remain closed on Monday.

In neighbouring Uttarakhand state a flash flood in a local river washed away several homes in Uttarkashi district.

‘At least 20 to 25 people are reported missing. Teams are searching for them,’ Veer Singh, an official at the state's disaster management centre in state capital Dehradun said. ‘Only one body has been found so far.’  India's monsoon season from June to September brings rains that support the livelihood of farmers, but can bring death and destruction.

The death toll from rain-related incidents across the country from June to August 15 had reached 1,058 in India's nine worst-affected states, according to federal Home Ministry data.

These are Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.

More than 18 million people have been affected by the floods across vast swathes of the country.

The western state of Maharashtra saw the highest death toll, recording 245 deaths. Most deaths were caused by drowning, wall collapses and landslides. Some lost their lives to electric shocks and snake bites, officials said.

Both Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand were placed on a red alert Sunday along with parts of Punjab and Rajasthan states with the Metereological Department forecasting more heavy showers over the next two days.

Landslides had blocked several roads in Himachal Pradesh, including a key highway.

Excess water released into rivers from dams in Himachal Pradesh were likely to flood lower areas in the state as well as neighbouring Punjab, an official at the state's disaster management unit said.

Eleven districts in drought-prone Rajasthan had received more than average rain this season, causing several rivers and canals to flood, NDTV news channel reported.

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