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Monsoon floods hit Uttar Pradesh

Floods triggered by heavy rains in the Himalayas have inundated nearly 1,500 villages in Uttar Pradesh, killing at least 28 people and leaving thousands homeless, officials said on Sunday.

Thousands were marooned in villages across nine districts of Uttar Pradesh, where the release of water from overflowing dams in neighbouring Nepal has added to the impact of the downpour.

A lack of rain earlier in the June-September monsoon season had led to fears of drought, but this month all that has changed.

The latest heavy rains have caused landslides and floods in many parts of India and Nepal, where at least 90 people have been killed since Thursday.

At least 12 people were swept away by torrents in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh, officials said. Another six perished when their boat capsized in the swollen Rapti river.

“The flood situation arose following heavy downpours in Nepal, which led to overflowing rivers which originate in the Himalayan region including Tibet and Nepal,” said Alok Ranjan, chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh.

More rain is forecast in Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring Uttarakhand in the Himalayas, resulting in new flood warnings.

Three army helicopters were deployed to drop food and water to the people marooned in shelters.

“The state is well equipped with both manpower and resources to meet the current crises and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the affected people receive prompt relief,” Ranjan said.

Earlier there had been concern the slow start to the monsoon would trim cane output in the world’s second-biggest sugar-producing nation.

Now the floods in Uttar Pradesh have raised fears of damage to the cane crop, as 0.6 million hectares of arable lands have been submerged.

“Sugarcane is at high risk due to floods as waterlogging can damage the crop,” Sudhir Panwar, president of the farmers’ body Kisan Jagriti Manch said by phone from Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh.

Nine districts of Bihar have been hit by floods, which have claimed two lives and affected 400,000. Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, accompanied by Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and Disaster Management Department Principal Secretary Vyasji, conducted an aerial survey of the inundated areas and ordered relief measures. Darbhanga, Nalanda, West Champaran, Supaul, Saharasa, Nawada, Sheikhpura, Sitamarhi and Patna district have been affected.

In Assam, rivers were overflowing in the districts of Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Sonitpur, Nagaon, Morigaon and Dibrugarh following heavy rainfall in both Assam and neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, an official report said. In the Kaziranga National Park, the Brahmaputra has inundated almost 70 per cent of the area.

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