Death toll passes 180 in Nepal and India floods

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Media caption,

Floods are causing havoc in India and Nepal

More than 180 people have died after heavy rainfall triggered flash floods in Nepal and two Indian states - Uttarakhand and Kerala.

Homes were submerged or crushed by rocks swept into them by landslides.

At least 88 people died in Nepal and 55 in Uttarakhand, including five from a single family, with dozens more missing in both nations.

Rains further south in India's Kerala state also triggered deadly floods, leaving another 42 dead there.

In Nepal the victims included a family of six, among them three children, whose house was buried in a sudden deluge of soil and debris.

The worst-affected areas are Panchthar district in east Nepal, and Ilam and Doti in west Nepal.

Rescuers were struggling to reach 60 people stranded for two days in the village of Seti in west Nepal, Reuters reported.

Nepal's government is giving $1,700 (£1,220) to the families of each victim of the floods.

In the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand schools have been closed and religious and tourist activities suspended.

The Ganges burst its bank in Rishikesh and the popular Nainital region was severely affected.

Uttarakhand, which normally sees up to 30.5mm (1.2in) of rain for the whole of October, recorded 328mm in a 24-hour period this week.

But the Indian Meteorological Department says the rainfall is now easing.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami announced a compensation of 400,000 rupees (£3,800; $5,300) for the families of those who have died and a further 190,000 rupees for those whose homes were destroyed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences on Twitter: "I am anguished by the loss of lives due to heavy rainfall in parts of Uttarakhand. May the injured recover soon."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Overflowing rivers have swept away bridges as here in Chalthi, Uttarakhand

While attributing the heavy rains to the climate crisis, experts have also cited hydro-power projects in the higher reaches of the Himalayas, and excessive and often unchecked construction on steep slopes which cause damage to the region's fragile ecology.

Experts also say higher temperatures have meant lesser snow in the Himalayas - and this, coupled with heavy rains, is pushing large volumes of water downstream, triggering flash floods.

The southern coastal state of Kerala has also seen heavy rain since Friday.

Thousands of people have been moved to safety, with more than 1,600 homes destroyed or damaged.

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