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Some 250 Dead, 2.5 Million Homeless After Indian Monsoon Rains Arrive Late

Some 250 people have been killed by collapsing buildings, landslides, mudslides, and drowning, while more than 2.5 million have been displaced after torrential monsoon rains overwhelmed both urban and rural areas in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, which saw the worst floods in six decades, as well as the western states of Maharashtra and Goa.

Indian Army, Navy and Air Force troops are assisting state administrations with rescue and relief work, using helicopters, transport aircraft, boats and divers. Official damage and loss estimates are expected to rise as rescue workers reach towns and villages—many of which remain submerged—that have been isolated after bridges and railway lines were swept away by flooding.

Significant crop and livestock losses are projected, but cannot be estimated until after waters recede.

India’s monsoon season normally begins in June, declining by September. This year’s unusually late rains, however, come on the heels of a relatively dry summer, with many areas falling into drought. According to the India Meteorological Department, heavy cloud formation over the Arabian Sea to the west of India’s southern peninsula, combined with a depression over the Bay of Bengal in the east have caused the unusually heavy rains. More than 1,400 people have died across 19 of India’s 28 states during monsoon rains this year.

—Jack Rosebro


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