(CNN) – Disaster management officials say at least 73 people have been killed in India this week due to unprecedented rains and torrential rains.
At least 46 people have been killed in the northern state of Uttarakhand and 27 bodies have been recovered in the southern state of Kerala, officials said.
Uttarakhand began to receive heavy rains over the weekend, which lasted till Wednesday, causing lakes and rivers to overflow, a bridge collapsed and services closed.
Aerial images of the affected areas show that rivers and villages are partially submerged.
“The floods have caused great damage … crops have been destroyed,” state Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Tommy told ANI, a Reuters co-ordinator.
“There are a lot of problems for the locals, the roads are flooded and the bridges are being washed away.”
Of those killed, 25 were from Nainital district, the most affected area, senior police officer Ashok Kumar told local media on Tuesday. It said it would evacuate at least 3,000 people from a boat on the overflowing Sarda River on Monday.
The flood comes in the middle of a religious pilgrimage called the Sartam Yatra, during which Hindus from all over India make a pilgrimage to Uttarakhand.
Gujarat Disaster Management Minister Rajendra Trivedi said about 100 pilgrims from the western state of Gujarat had come to Uttarakhand when the floods hit.
Six of the pilgrims were stranded in the upper part of Kedarnath, one of the major religious sites. A helicopter was sent to evacuate the pilgrims, but bad weather thwarted rescue efforts, Trivedi said on Tuesday. By Wednesday, the water level had dropped enough for pilgrims and residents to find a safe haven.
The pilgrimage has been suspended and will resume as soon as the rains subside.
Two laboratories in the Kumaon region of Nainital state recorded 340.8 mm of rainfall and 403.2 mm, respectively, the highest rainfall recorded in a 24-hour period, according to the Meteorological Department of India. .
The Himalayan state is particularly prone to floods. More than 200 people are feared dead as flash floods in February submerged a hydroelectric dam.
Meanwhile, landslides and rivers in Kerala have been inundated by heavy rains since Friday. The state Department of Information said heavy rains would continue until Thursday.
More than 200 families across the state are currently in 26 evacuation camps, and in landslide-prone areas, state officials are urging residents to stay indoors.
Additional information from Reuters.
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