MUMBAI/BENGALURU • Floods caused by heavy rain and overflowing rivers across western and southern India have killed at least 33 people and forced 180,000 to evacuate their homes, officials said yesterday.
South Asia's seasonal monsoon rains from June to September cause deaths and mass displacement every year, but also deliver more than 70 per cent of India's rainfall, which is crucial for farming and economic growth.
The tally of dead in the floods was 25 in the western state of Maharashtra yesterday, officials said. Government data in the southern state of Karnataka showed eight dead.
Rivers burst their banks in parts of Maharashtra after the authorities released water from dams brimming with as much as 670mm of rain collected in a week.
A boat full of villagers trying to escape the floods capsized yesterday, killing at least nine people, with rescuers searching for three or four still missing.
Thousands of trucks were stuck on a national highway linking the financial capital of Mumbai with the southern technology hub of Bengaluru, as waters submerged the roads in some places.
In Karnataka, officials said some major reservoirs were nearly full and warned that nearby villages could be hit by large discharges of water. Temples and electric poles were underwater, as seen in video images posted by a journalist in a northern district of Karnataka.
Weather officials have forecast heavy rain in the region, including the nearby states of Kerala and Goa, over the next three to five days. Kerala weather officials called a "red alert" in four districts they saw as being at risk of receiving more than 200mm of rain yesterday.
Schools and colleges in many places have been shut since Monday and are unlikely to reopen this week, said the authorities.