Asia Pacific

Death toll in southern India floods rises to 147, and another 17 reported killed in Pakistan

Reuters, AP

The death toll from floods in the Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra rose to 147, state authorities said Sunday, as rescue teams raced to evacuate people and waters submerged parts of a world heritage site.

Heavy rain and landslides forced hundreds of thousands of people to take shelter in relief camps, while train services were canceled in several flood-hit areas.

In the southern state of Kerala, at least 57 people were killed in rain-related incidents while over 165,000 people were in relief camps in the state, state authorities said Sunday.

“Several houses are still covered under 10-12 feet deep mud. This is hampering rescue work,” state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Authorities worried that rescue operations might be affected by thunderstorms and rainfall predicted in some parts of Kerala.

Last year, more than 200 people were killed in Kerala and over 5 million affected in one of worst floods in 100 years in the state.

In Karnataka, several structures at Hampi, an ancient town and a World Heritage site, were flooded.

So far 60 people have died in rain-related incidents, said state Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, adding nearly 227,000 people are staying in relief camps.

While Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra have been the worst hit this year, several other states — including Gujarat, Assam and Bihar — have also seen heavy damage due to floods.

In Maharashtra, where the death toll stands at 30, the flood situation is improving, according to state-run All India Radio, though authorities said it will be difficult to restore rail services in some flood-hit areas within the next two weeks.

India’s main opposition Congress party called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide relief packages.

Citing media reports, the Congress party said so far this year 446 people have been killed in six flood-hit states including Assam, Bihar and Gujarat.

“Despite the mammoth loss of lives and displacement caused due to floods, the government is failing to realize the gravity of the flood fury,” the party said in a statement Sunday.

In neighboring Pakistan, monsoon rains have inundated much of the country, leaving large parts of the southern city of Karachi flooded and causing at least 17 deaths.

Rescue official Anwar Kazmi said Sunday that seven people died from electrocution and three people died after a roof collapsed in Karachi.

The downpour and flooding began overnight Saturday and continued Sunday, with authorities reporting more than 180 millimeters (7 inches) of rain in the port city.

Police officer Idrees Khosa said five people died in a flash flood and another two were electrocuted in Punjab province, which also received heavy rain.

Pakistan struggles to cope with the yearly monsoon, which runs from July to September and causes flooding across South Asia.