Death toll from India floods, landslides likely at 40
Indian officials have updated the death toll from flash floods that have hit the northern regions of the country in recent days, saying at least 40 are feared dead following the heavy downpours.
Om Prakash Sati, a spokesman at the chief minister’s office of Uttarakhand State, said Sunday that 40 people are feared dead and several more people still missing.
The official toll from the floods is still 18, including 15 from the city of Pithoragarh. The figure is expected to rise, said Sati, adding that two remote districts of Chamoli district and Pithoragarh were the most affected in the flash floods.
Reports showed that landslides triggered by heavy downpours blocked hundreds of roads in rural areas.
According to Sati, thousands are feared stranded. He added that officials have asked people in low-lying areas to evacuate as a precautionary measure.
The official said relief operations are underway but incessant rains have hampered the rescue efforts with rivers flowing to dangerous levels, raising fears of more flooding.
Uttarakhand’s chief minister, Harish Rawat, said, however, that there was “no need to panic” as several roads have been repaired and rescue team were trying to reach affected people.
He said teams from the state, central authorities, and other relief forces have all been kept on high alert as a precautionary measure.
Flash floods have also affected the neighboring Pakistan with reports suggesting that at least 43 have been killed in the Chitral district in northern Pakistan. Houses and mosques were damaged in the floods as local officials said several people in the local mosque were killed during special Ramadan evening prayers, among them were women and children.
Floods kill hundreds in South Asian monsoon season every year. Pakistan’s mountainous areas which border Afghanistan saw similar floods last year which led to several deaths.