Death toll climbs to 207 as India, Nepal face more floods, landslides

October 21, 2021
A flooded area after heavy rains in Rudrapur in Utarakhand. — courtesy PTI
A flooded area after heavy rains in Rudrapur in Utarakhand. — courtesy PTI

NEW DELHI — The death toll due to devastating floods and landslides in India and neighboring Nepal has touched 207 people as thousands of people are bearing the brunt of latest natural calamity.

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah told mediapersons in New Delhi after conducting an aerial survey of the affected areas in North Indian state of Uttarakhand that the death toll has climbed to 64 people while 11 people are still missing.

The Indian home minister who was accompanied by Chief Minister of the state Pushkar Singh Dhami also said that 17 teams of National Disaster Response Force and 60 teams of State Disaster Response Force are engaged in rescue operation along with 5000 police officers.

More than 3,500 people were rescued while 16,000 people were evacuated to safer places, he said.

Chief Minister of South Indian state of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan stated that rain related incidents in the state have claimed 42 lives so far while the life of thousands of people were out of gear.

Several towns, cities and roads were submerged while hundreds of houses and buildings collapsed. Several fresh landslides were reported today from the state amid incessant rains.

Meanwhile, the Home Ministry in the Himalayan country of Nepal announced that death toll due to the floods and landslides has climbed to 101 while 41 people were missing.

The incessant rains in the hill-locked country have wreaked havoc as massive landslides and floods submerged huge areas. Several buildings and houses were collapsed while the infrastructure underwent massive destruction leading to disruption in water and electricity supply.

The Red Cross said its teams were helping with relief efforts in both countries and warning people living further downstream of further threats from rising floodwaters and landslides.

"Crops and homes have been wiped out, which is a severe blow to families already grappling with the devastating fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic," it said.

"The people of Nepal and India are sandwiched between the pandemic and worsening climate disasters, heavily impacting millions of lives and livelihoods."

Experts say that they were victims of the ever-more unpredictable and extreme weather that has hit South Asia in recent years caused by climate change and exacerbated by deforestation, damming and excessive development.

The unusually late deluge of rain in the region saw Nepal record the sharpest rise in casualties overnight. "It doesn't rain this time of the year," said Nawaraj Kattel, 37, a local journalist who fled his flooded home in Morang in eastern Nepal.

In the Himalayan northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, some parts of which recorded the most rain in more than a century, 60 people were confirmed Thursday to have died.

Many bridges and roads have been damaged and many towns have been cut off, and the army has been brought in to restore contact and reach thousands of people stranded. Thousands were without power.

In Kerala in southern India, where 42 people have died since last week, forecasters issued warnings of heavy rains in at least three districts in the state after a respite in recent days.

The flooding in the state adjoining the Arabian Sea — which scientists say is warming — has revived memories of 2018, when nearly 500 people perished in the worst flooding there in a century. — Agencies

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