Uttarakhand: Death toll rises to 46 in floods in Himalayan state

Kumaon region, which includes tourist hotspot Nainital, recorded 28 deaths on Tuesday alone

Sravasti Dasgupta
Wednesday 20 October 2021 15:15
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Flooded roads after heavy rain in Uttarakhand, India

At least 46 people have been killed and several others are missing as incessant rains continued to lash the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand on Wednesday.

Flash floods triggered by record-breaking heavy rainfall over the last four days battered the hilly state, inundating roads and causing landslides that have destroyed bridges and buildings.

The state’s Kumaon region, which includes tourist hotspot Nainital, has been the worst hit and recorded 28 deaths on Tuesday alone. Landslides had cut off communication to Nainital on Monday but connectivity was restored on Tuesday evening.

India’s federal weather body, the India Meteorological Department (IMD), said that parts of Kumaon region had received the heaviest rainfall for any 24-hour period since records began in the late 1960s, according to The Indian Express.

Bikram Singh, IMD director in Uttarakhand’s capital Dehradun, said the state recorded nearly 58cm in just 22 hours on Tuesday, in comparison to 17.8cm of rain in the first few weeks of this month.

Uttarakhand’s chief minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami, undertook an aerial survey on Wednesday to review the worst affected regions and promised 4 lakh rupees (almost £4,000) compensation to the next of kin of those who were killed in rain-related incidents.

The heavy flooding has prompted large-scale rescue operations with over 2,000 members of civil and paramilitary forces being deployed. Dramatic videos have captured rescue operations that are underway in the state. At least 1,300 people have been rescued from flood-affected areas according to officials.

Central teams including the National Disaster Response Force, the Indian army and the air force are also aiding relief operations. Officials added that it would take at least four to five days to repair the damaged roads.

The hilly state has been prone to landslides and flash floods recently, as experts fear that the area is becoming more vulnerable due to global warming.

Nearly 200 people were killed in flash floods in February, while thousands died in landslides triggered by floods in 2013.

The IMD has predicted that the state is likely to see dry days for the rest of the week as rainfall is expected to recede on Wednesday.

Heavy rainfall has been recorded across several states in India over the past week. At least 39 people have been killed in the southern state of Kerala, while rain continues to lash states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha.

IMD officials also said that rain is expected to continue in northeastern India for the rest of the week, owing to low-pressure and strong winds from the Bay of Bengal.

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