Almost two-dozen killed as monsoon rains inundate northern India
New Delhi — Flash floods and landslides caused by heavy monsoon rains have killed at least 22 people in the Himalayan region of northern India, authorities said Monday. Several cities and towns across the region, including the sprawling Indian capital Delhi, saw heavy rainfall submerge roads and inundate houses over the weekend, bringing normal life to a standstill.
Delhi got a punishing six inches of rain on Saturday alone, the highest single-day downpour in 40 years. A 58-year-old woman died when the ceiling of her house collapsed amid the deluge in Delhi's Karol Bagh area.
The rain continued to hammer down through Sunday and into Monday, waterlogging most of the capital's roads and leading to hours-long traffic jams. Several markets, schools and hospitals were also inundated, while 15 houses collapsed. All Delhi schools were ordered to remain closed on Monday.
Himachal Pradesh has been the hardest-hit Indian state, with flash floods and landslides causing widespread devastation. Several houses and at least two key bridges in one area were swept away by the floods. At least five people were confirmed dead in the state as more than a dozen flash floods and 14 major landslides blocked over 700 roads.
Authorities in the state asked people not to even step out of their homes unless it was absolutely necessary. Train services on a key route were suspended and all schools and colleges in the state were told to stay shuttered for at least two days.
Both Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand states are home to several Himalayan tourist spots that are regularly thronged by people from the hotter plains states in the summer, but all of the major rivers were swollen and tourists and commuters alike were warned to avoid travel until the heavy rains subsided.
A video posted by India's NDTV network showed a wall of rising water sweep away cars at one tourist beauty spot.
India's Meteorological Department has forecast more rain to fall in at least seven states and regions across northern India, including Delhi, over the next few days.
India faces severe floods every year during the monsoon season, between June and September, but experts have warned that climate change is making the seasonal rains more intense, longer lasting and more unpredictable.