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New Delhi (AFP) – The torrential rains in northern India and Nepal have left a scene of devastation and hundreds of deaths. The monsoon season especially affects the mountains in these countries. Climate change seems to be the main reason for the sudden increase in rainfall and increase in water.
In India, the death toll from the bad weather has risen to 102, while in neighboring Nepal, authorities this Thursday raised the previous balance of 31 victims to 88.
Experts link the frequency of these extreme weather events, which are increasingly recurring in South Asia, with factors such as accelerating climate change and deforestation and dam construction.
Among those killed in Nepal is a family of six, including three children, whose house was buried in mud and debris.
“All disaster management teams are actively involved in rescue and maintenance operations,” said emergency officer Dijan Bhattarai, who said they had mobilized the police and army.
In the Indian state of Uttarakhand (northern), in the heart of the Himalayas, authorities have confirmed the deaths of 55 people, nine more than the previous pending.
Roads and bridges in the area have been damaged due to bad weather and many people have been isolated. The government also sent troops to reach thousands of people without communication.
AFP images show a group of police officers forming a chain to prevent an entire house from being dragged down a slope or being swept away by a strong current descending on a street.
Missing persons and asylum seekers
Disaster Management Regional Chairman S Murugesan pointed out that the balance could be increased as many people are missing, including 20 tourists who went on a trip to the glacier.
In the eastern state of West Bengal, five people, including two girls aged eight and ten, belonging to the same family, were killed in running water in the mountains above the city of Darjeeling.
“The mud, rocks and water flowing in the Darjeeling mountains damaged 400 houses and evacuated thousands of people from the rivers on its slopes,” Disaster Management Minister Javed Ahmed Khan told AFP.
“Hundreds of tourists have been isolated at the Darjeeling resort … landslides have blocked highways and roads in the area,” he added.
The Met Office issued a red alert to the state on Thursday warning of heavy rains in Darjeeling and other nearby cities.
In Kerala, 42 people have died in southern India since last week, the Meteorological Department has warned of heavy rains in at least three districts.
In 2018, about half a thousand people died in that state on the Arabian Sea coast due to the worst floods in nearly a century.
The Red Cross, which is involved in rescue efforts in both countries, has warned people living in low-lying areas of rising water and landslide risk.
“People in Nepal and India are caught between the worst of epidemics and the worst of climate disasters, affecting millions of lives and livelihoods,” the organization said.
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