Floods and landslides kill at least 18 people in northern India
Published 01/07/2016 | 13:11
At least 18 people have been killed after torrential rain triggered heavy floods and landslides in northern India, officials said.
The worst-affected villages were in the remote mountainous districts of Pithoragarh and Chamoli in the state of Uttarakhand.
Many people were trapped under toppled houses and debris unleashed by the landslides, according to the state's top elected official, Chief Minister Harish Rawat.
"We are getting reports of 18 to 20 people killed, and this figure may go higher," Mr Rawat said.
The Press Trust of India news agency quoted officials as saying at least 25 people were missing in seven villages in Pithoragarh, about 510 kilometres (320 miles) north-east of New Delhi.
Flood waters and mudslides have blocked roads at more than a dozen places, delaying the movement of rescue teams in the area.
Helicopters were unable to fly rescue teams due to poor visibility in the area, said O.P. Singh, chief of the National Disaster Response Force.
Uttarakhand state has many Hindu temples which are popular destinations for pilgrims as well as tourists seeking to escape the summer heat further south.
During the heavy rain, officials temporarily blocked pilgrimages to some temples as a precaution.
Uttarakhand was badly hit by monsoon flooding and landslides in 2013, when at least 1,000 people died in the state as it experienced its heaviest rains in nearly 80 years.
Monsoon season in India begins in June and ends in October.