Heaviest monsoon in 25 years claims 1,600 lives

Heaviest monsoon in 25 years claims 1,600 lives


The heaviest monsoon to lash India in 25 years has killed more than 1,600 people since June, government data showed on Tuesday, as authorities battled floods in two northern States and muddy waters swirled inside a major city.

The monsoon, which typically lasts between June and September, has already delivered 10 per cent more rain than a 50-year average, and is expected to withdraw only after early October, more than a month later than usual.

The extended rains have wreaked havoc, with northern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar the worst hit in the latest spell of intense downpours, killing 144 people since last Friday, officials said.

In Patna, that is home to around two million people, residents said they were wading through waist-deep water to buy essential items like food and milk.

Ranjeev Kumar, 65, a resident of Patna’s Ashiyana neighbourhood, said on telephone that the entire area was marooned.

"The government is not doing any rescue and the situation is very serious here," he said.

On Monday, relief workers rescued Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi from his home in Patna. Video footage showed him dressed in shorts and a t-shirt as he was brought out on a raft along with his family members.

In Uttar Pradesh, the  most populous state, heavy rain brought down more than 800 homes and swathes of farmland are submerged.

Data released by the Union Home Ministry showed that 1,673 people have died because of floods and heavy rains this year, as of September 29.

Officials said many of these fatalities were caused due to wall and building collapses, including in UP and Maharashtra, that has seen 371 flood-related deaths in 2019, the highest.