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India: Monsoon rains leave several dead

July 10, 2023

Heavy rains brought destructive floods to northern India, triggering landslides and damaging houses. People are warned not to venture outside, as weather experts warned more rain is expected.

A swollen River Beas following heavy rains in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
The northern hill states were the worst affected with several killed in landslides and flash floodsImage: Aqil Khan/AP/picture alliance

At least 15 people died in the heavy monsoon rains that battered northern India, authorities and local media said on Monday. 

The torrential rains caused landslides and flash floods in various Indian states, leaving dozens stranded. In the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, flash floods over the weekend brought down a bridge and swept away several hutments. 

Footage from local media shows authorities using helicopters to rescue people who were stuck on roads and bridges because of the rain. 

This was also a situation in neighbouring Uttarkhand, a tourist hill state in the Himalayas, where landslides disrupted traffic on key highways. 

In the capital, New Delhi, schools were closed after the city was entirely flooded by the weekend rains. 

Extremely heavy downpours expected in Himachal Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with officials and ministers and took stock of the situation in the wake of excessive rainfall, news agency ANI reported.

A man looks at a swollen River Beas following heavy rains in Kullu
Following the incessant rains, many rivers in the northern regions were overflowingImage: Aqil Khan/AP/picture alliance

"Local administrations and disaster response teams are working to ensure the well-being of those affected,” the prime minister's office tweeted. 

Meanwhile, the Indian Meterological Department (IMD) gave a red alert to Himachal Pradesh and warned the state might experience extremely heavy downpours. A senior weather department official said that many districts in Himachal Pradesh received a month's rainfall in a day during the weekend. 

Indian monsoons becoming more erratic

Heavy rains are also expected in other northern regions such as Uttarkhand, Punjab and Haryana. 

Authorities have asked people not to venture out of their homes unless necessary.

The weather agency said monsoon rains across the country have already brought about 2% more rainfall than normal.

Dark clouds hover over National Highway-48 during monsoon rains at Rajiv Chowk,
Schools and colleges have been shut for next two days due to heavy rains and waterloggingImage: Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times/IMAGO

India regularly witnesses severe floods during the monsoon season, which runs between June and September. 

But experts say that monsoons are becoming more erratic due to climate change, and the intensity of rains has increased, leading to frequent landslides and flash floods.

Heavy rains kill more than a dozen people in northern India

 ara/jcg (Reuters, AP)