India floods: Monsoon rains cause havoc in Gujarat

This handout photograph released by The Indian Ministry of Defence on June 25, 2015, shows Indian villagers standing on a building awaiting rescue by authorities as floodwaters rise in Amreli District, some 200kms south-west of Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat on June 24, 2015. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many people are still stranded in the worst-affected Amreli district

Authorities in India's Gujarat state say incessant monsoon rains have caused widespread damage to public and private properties.

Air force helicopters have been dropping food in affected areas after more than 70 people were reported to have died in flood-related incidents.

More than 10,000 people have been moved to higher ground, including 1,000 who were airlifted to safety.

India regularly witnesses severe floods during the monsoon season.

Heavy rains have triggered house collapses in the worst-affected Saurashtra region with some reports saying these are the worst floods in 90 years.

The coastal district of Amreli is the worst affected, where more than 600 villages have been affected.

Farmers are among the worst hit with crops over a large area damaged, Gujarat Health Minister Nitin Patel told BBC Hindi's Ankur Jain in Ahmedabad.

Rescue and relief work is on, he added.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Indian air force has been carrying on rescue operations in Amreli district
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Rains have caused widespread damage to public and private properties

The defence ministry said on Thursday that air force helicopters carried out 23 sorties to drop food packets to those stranded.

There have been reports of lions coming out of their habitat in the Gir forest in Junagadh - the only home to Asiatic lions - which has also been hit by rains.

Meanwhile, flood warnings have been issued in Indian-administered Kashmir state where floods killed about 300 people last year.

The Jhelum river in the state's main city of Srinagar was flowing above the danger mark, reports said.

In the northern state of Uttarakhand, authorities have halted pilgrimage to Kedarnath and other Hindu holy sites due to heavy rains.

India receives 80% of its annual rainfall during the monsoon season, which runs between June and September.

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