Monsoon rains kill 81 in India
Nearly 9,000 people have been evacuated to higher ground in the worst-hit rural areas of Amreli, Rajkot and Bhavnagar districts of Gujarat
New Delhi: Heavy early monsoon rains have killed at least 81 people in Gujarat, bringing misery to thousands of people uprooted from their flooded homes, an official said on Friday.
Nearly 9,000 people have been evacuated to higher ground in the worst-hit rural areas of Amreli, Rajkot and Bhavnagar districts of Gujarat, which had been suffering from a drought before the rains hit, said Ridhi Butt, a national disaster response force (NDRF) official.
Butt said most of the deaths occurred when people were swept away by flood waters and mudslides, or buried in collapsed houses.
More than 1,000 Hindu pilgrims have been stranded on the mountain paths leading to Hindu shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath in Uttrakhand because of the rains.
The state disaster response force and police are clearing the roads to restore the pilgrimage, PTI reported.
Mumbai was badly hit last week when torrential showers closed trains and led to a breakdown in public services.
The monsoon rains arrived days ahead of schedule in the western and northern parts of India, raising hopes the annual rains may not be as little as predicted by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The monsoon has covered nearly the entire country delivering 24% excess rainfall so far, flooding parts of Gujarat and Assam, while a swollen river breached its banks in Jammu-Kashmir.
However, the weather department said it expected a drier July.
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