India

Monsoon floods in India, toll mounts to 130

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New Delhi (dpa) - The death toll from monsoon floods in India mounted to 130 on Friday, with about 200,000 people being displaced from their homes.

The torrential rains also threw rail and road traffic out of gear in many parts of the country.

Most of the deaths were reported from the western state of Gujarat. Revenue department officials told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that 108 people either drowned in flood waters, or were buried alive in mudslides and when buildings collapsed.

"Most of the 108 casualties since the past six days when the rains started lashing the state, are from Vadodra district. During this time, 1,97,276 people have been moved from their homes to safer places by the armed forces," said an official.

Heavy rains have been predicted in the state for the next few days, even as flood waters have inundated many villages and residential areas in cities.

Indian air force helicopters have been pressed into service to evacuate 400 passengers believed to be stuck in the Shanti Express train, some 80 kilometres from the state's capital Gandhinagar, the PTI newsagency reported. The passengers have been in the stranded train since Thursday.

In the adjoining state of Maharashtra, police officers told dpa that efforts were on to rescue 12 workers. The men were trapped inside a flooded underground tunnel, after heavy rains caused a landslide. Bodies of six workers have been recovered from the tunnel, thus far.

Five casualties were reported from the eastern state of Orissa, where officials heaved a sigh of relief with the water level in Baitarani river receding.

However, authorities, are still on alert, with rivers flowing above the danger mark and heavy rains predicted over North Orissa in the next few days.

Torrential monsoon rains have caused floods and landslides in the northern states of Uttaranchal, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

At least 11 people were buried alive in a landslide in Chamoli district in Uttraranchal, following heavy showers. In Jammu and Kashmir state, the threat of floods loomed large in Ladakh with the glaciers melting and causing the rivers to swell.

Air Force helicopters are still evacuating hundreds of stranded tourists in Himachal Pradesh, which has suffered a major loss of infrastructure and property due to floods.

Many trains were cancelled due to rains in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Scores of passengers stranded at railway stations complained about not being informed in advance about the changes in train routes. dpa sk sc

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