32 killed in landslides in eastern India

Nationwide death toll from five weeks of monsoon rains reaches 236; death toll from flooding in northwestern Pakistan reaches 17.

landslide victim 298 (photo credit: )
landslide victim 298
(photo credit: )
Incessant rains caused landslides that killed at least 32 people in eastern India overnight Monday. The casualties in the state of Orissa brought the nationwide death toll from five weeks of monsoon rains to 244. The new deaths were reported from Orissa's Gajapati district, where the rains triggered landslides and caused several houses to collapse, said L.K. Tudu, a relief official. At least 40 families were evacuated in the town of Gunupur in Gajapati district, about 250 kilometers south of Bhubaneswar, Orissa's capital, Tudu said. The state government of Orissa has put administrators in five districts on alert, he said. Weather officials predicted heavy rains in the region over the next two days. In Bombay, a downpour since Saturday has snarled traffic between downtown and the suburbs and delayed flights and trains. On Monday, authorities shut several schools in the city. The Meteorological Department has forecast more heavy rain for Bombay and its suburbs over the next five days. Floods, collapsed houses and lightning routinely kill hundreds of people during India's annual June-September monsoon rains. Meanwhile, the death toll from flooding in northwestern Pakistan reached 17 after more bodies were recovered from the rubble of three homes that washed away when a rain-swollen canal burst its banks. Rescuers also pulled a 3-year-old boy alive from the rubble about eight hours after he had been buried in Monday's mudslide in Swat, a resort district about 190 kilometers northwest of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. "He is all right," said Ali Rehman, a police emergency official in Swat. The bodies of five missing people were recovered Monday night, raising the death toll in the flooding in Gahel village to 17. "The search-and-rescue operation ended Monday evening, and no one is unaccounted for in the village," Rehman said. The canal, which fed a small, water-driven electricity generator, had one of its sides burst because of an increase in water following heavy rains. Monsoonal rains, which usually start in July, often cause flash-flooding in Pakistan.