Monsoon-triggered floods kill more than 50 in India

Indian Emergency Service personnel and fire fighters help people to reach safe areas during a flood in Bangalore on July 29, 2016.
Indian Emergency Service personnel and fire fighters help people to reach safe areas during a flood in Bangalore on July 29, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

GUWAHATI (AFP) - Floods triggered by days of torrential monsoon rains have claimed more than 50 lives in eastern India this week, the country's home minister and reports said Saturday (July 30), with millions of people affected by surging waters.

Rivers have burst their banks, flooding villages in the northeastern tea-growing state of Assam where 26 people have died, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, after carrying out an aerial survey of the worst-affected districts.

"The flood situation is really grim. Twenty-six people have died over seven days and some 3.6 million people are affected," Singh told reporters in the city of Guwahati.

"No efforts are being spared to help the people. The NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) and army are doing their best. Some 60 boats have been pressed into service to rescue people." Thousands of people were sheltering in makeshift camps set up along highways and on higher ground in the flood-ravaged state.

Severe floods have also hit the state of Bihar where 26 people have also died and several thousands have been displaced, the Press Trust of India news agency reported Friday.

Scores of people die every year from flooding and landslides during the monsoon rains in India and neighbouring countries of Nepal and Bangladesh.

In Nepal, floods and landslides have killed more than 90 people at a time when millions of Nepalis are still living in makeshift huts after a devastating earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people in 2015.