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Monsoon rains and floods kill scores in India

Floods caused by heavy rains in the western Indian state of Gujarat have killed at least 55 people. The Indian air force has evacuated over 10,000 people from the inundated parts of the state but many are still stranded.

Relief workers struggled to reach residents affected by torrential rains in Gujarat on Saturday as the death toll continued to rise.

According to the state's Disaster Management Authority, the southern Saurashtra region of the state was the worst affected with over 30 casualties reported from a single district in the past two days. Most of the deaths have been caused by house collapses and drowning.

The monsoon rains, which hit the state on Wednesday, have largely subsided but left many parts of the western Indian state devastated. A number of roads, railway tracks, bridges, and much of the communication and electricity network have been completely destroyed.

"The death toll has touched 55 since June 24," an officer at Gujarat's flood control center told AFP news agency on Saturday.

Sitanshu Kar, a ministry of defense spokesman, wrote on Twitter that the Indian Air Force had "carried out 23 sorties by six MI-17 V5 Helicopter and dropped 5.587 tonnes of food packets" to those affected.

Gujarat's government has announced a state of emergency and cash compensation for the families of the deceased and the affected farmers.

"We will provide financial aid to those who lost crops, livestock, houses and other properties," Gujarat's Health Minister Nitin Patel said.

Meanwhile, incessant rains have also ravaged parts of the northern state of Uttarakhand, where an annual Hindi pilgrimage has been postponed due to floods and landslides.

Monsoon rains usually hit the South Asian nation between June and September after weeks of

extreme hot weather

. Every year thousands of people die due to rains and ensuing floods in many South Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan.

shs/ls (AFP, dpa)

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