Deaths climb from monsoon rains in India and Nepal

Featured India - June 20th, 2013

Monsoon rains that have battered northern India and western Nepal since Saturday have left thousands of people stranded and dozens dead.

The death toll from the devastation climbed to 160 people with at least 41 feared missing after flash floods and landslides ravaged through the mountainous region, reports AFP.

Hardest hit were the Indian states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and remote areas in neighboring Nepal in the Himalayan foothills.

Tens of thousands of people, including pilgrims who were visiting holy sites in the area, were already evacuated as rescuers struggled to reach those still stranded in their homes.

Military choppers, as well as civilian helicopters, were deployed to drop emergency supplies, as roads as well as bridges were swept away.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited the flooded region Wednesday with ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, said the federal and state government were working in close coordination “to deal with the immediate aftermath of the ghastly tragedy”.

He also said the government would give $170 million for rescue and relief operations in Uttarakhand, often called the “Land of the Gods”, which was hit by torrential rains at least three times as heavy as usual.