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Monsoon flash floods sweep dozens in northern India

August 21, 2022

Flash floods and landslides are common in the Himalayan parts of northern India during the months of June to September. But scientists say global warming and melting glaciers have further exacerbated the situation.

 general view of the section of a railway bridge washed away by the deluge at the Chakki River after flash floods in Kangra district, in Indias Himachal Pradesh state on August 20, 2022.
Flash floods in Himalayan India have swept away houses and bridgesImage: AFP/Getty Images

Monsoon rains have triggered flash floods and landslides in northern India, leaving over 40 killed and others missing over the last three days, authorities confirmed on Saturday.

Mud houses, roads and bridges were swept away by the heavy rains, with hundreds of villages swamped in parts of the northern Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Heavy rainfall was expected to continue for two more days.

Youths living in a low lying area on the banks of the River Ganges sit on cart in a flooded street at Daraganj area in Allahabad on August 19, 2022, after water levels rose following monsoon rains.
The floods have killed at least 40 people, displacing hundreds of othersImage: Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images

Indian officials said at least 36 people were killed as a result of the floods in Himachal Pradesh. Meanwhile in Uttarakhand, officials counted four dead and 13 missing. Hundreds more were displaced.

"We have deployed choppers to rescue people who are stuck in remote areas due to rain related incidents. The rescue operation is happening on full swing," said Ranjit Kumar Sinha, an official in Uttarakhand's disaster management department.

Another state official told the Reuters news agency that torrential rains killed at least six in the eastern state of Odisha. Floods have displaced thousands of the state's residents, as rains swept through the infrastructure.

The monsoon season, which stretches from June to September, brings about heavy rains which yield crops but also often create disasters, due to landslides and floods. However, scientists believe global warming has exacerbated the extremity of rainfalls.

Villagers use a boat to commute at a waterlogged area caused by floodwaters after a rise in water level of River Yamuna following monsoon rains at Badara Sanuti Village, near Allahabad on August 20, 2022.
Scientists say global warming has exacerbated disasters during the monsoon seasonImage: Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly 200 people died last year due to flash floods in Uttarakhand.

Extreme weather conditions have hit several part of the world this summer, with Europe plagued by intense heat and wildfires, and the Arabian Gulf suffering deadly floods.

rmt/jcg (AP, Reuters)