More than 150 people have died while dozens more are missing after days of relentless rainfall, flooding, and devastating landslides in India and Nepal.

Officials in Uttarakhand state in northern India on Wednesday said that 46 people had died in recent days with 11 others missing.

About 30 of the victims in Uttarakhand were killed in seven separate incidents in the Nainital region early on Tuesday. An ultra-intense deluge of rain termed Cloudburst triggered a series of landslides that swept away roads and destroyed several structures.

Local official Pradeep Jain said that five of the dead were from a single-family whose house was buried by an enormous landslide.

Another landslide in the northern Almora district killed five people after their home was crushed under huge rocks and a wall of mud. Meanwhile, at least six others were killed on Monday in two remote districts of the Himalayan state.

Television footage and social media videos showed residents walking through knee-deep water near the local tourist spot Nainital lake and the river Ganges bursting its banks in Rishikesh. Over 100 tourists were stuck inside a resort in Ramgarh after the overflowing Kosi river deluged several areas.

The Indian Meteorological Department has since extended its weather alert predicting heavy to very heavy rainfall in the region. The weather office said that several areas recorded more than 400 millimetres of rainfall on Monday, resulting in landslides and flooding. Authorities have also ordered the closure of schools and banned all religious and tourist activities in the state.

India’s weather office said that heavy rains will once again hit the other rain-affected state Kerala in the next two days after a brief reprieve on Tuesday.  Many dams in the state were nearing the danger mark and authorities were evacuating thousands to safer locations as big rivers overflowed.

Nepal records 77 deaths

In neighbouring Nepal, the death toll after three days of downpour and floods rose to 77 on Wednesday. The authorities said that rescuers had recovered 34 more bodies so far.

Nepal’s Interior Ministry official Dil Kumar Tamang said that twenty-four people were killed in the Panchthar district of east Nepal bordering India with neighbouring Ilam reporting 13 deaths. Tamang said 12 people died in Doti in west Nepal while other victims died elsewhere in west Nepal.

The ministry also said that 22 people were injured and 26 were missing.        

Man-made disaster?

Landslides are a regular hazard in the Himalayan region but experts point toward melting glaciers due to the climate change for increasingly erratic rains and resulting floods and landslides. Experts also blame construction work on hydroelectric dams and deforestation for the increase in the frequency of natural catastrophes.

Earlier in February, a ferocious flash flood hurtled down a remote valley in Uttarakhand, killing about 200 people. At least 5,700 people perished in a similar natural disaster in 2013. In 2018, almost 500 people also died in the coastal Kerala state in the worst flooding in 100 years.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here