36 dead in rain-related incidents across India; floodwater recedes in Assam

(Eds: Revising death toll) New Delhi, Jul 21 (PTI) Thirty-six people were killed in rain-related incidents across the country on Sunday with heavy showers in Kerala, where a red alert was sounded in five districts, even as the floodwater receded in some parts of Assam. Lightning strikes in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan accounted for 22 of the deaths. Twenty-six MGNREGA labourers were injured in the desert state when lightning struck them. The toll in Assam floods rose to 64 with the deaths of five more people. Two deaths were reported from Morigaon district and one each from Dhemaji, Goalpara and Kamrup districts, according to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA). Eighteen of the state's 33 districts still remain submerged, affecting 38.37 lakh people. The floodwater receded in five districts but 2,669 villages, 1.35 lakh hectares of crop land and a portion of the Kaziranga National Park in Golaghat district continued to remain submerged, the ASDMA bulletin said. The death count of animals at the Kaziranga National Park stood at 141. In Bihar, the death toll due to the flood crossed the 100-mark, with five fresh deaths reported since Saturday from Madhubani district, which accounted for 23 of the total 102 casualties. The flood has affected over 72 lakh people in 12 districts of the eastern state. Sitamarhi, with 27 deaths, remained the worst-affected district, the state disaster management department said in its report. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visited the relief camps in Sitamarhi and Darbhanga. Two fresh deaths were reported from Kerala as rains continued to pound the southern state, where a red alert has been issued for five districts. The body of Sahayaraju (55), one of the missing fishermen from Tamil Nadu, was found in Kerala's Kollam district. Two other fishermen had managed to swim to safety, the coastal police said. The body of Manesh Sebastian, who went missing in the Meenachil river of Kottayam district, was retrieved by the Navy. Three, including two fishermen from Tamil Nadu, are still missing. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert in Kasargod and Idukki districts for July 21, and in Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur districts for July 22. It has also predicted extremely heavy rainfall in Kannur and Kasargod districts on July 23. The weatherman has also issued an orange alert in Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram till July 25. Even though the intensity of rains has reduced, the coastal areas of the state continue to bear the brunt of the rough sea. The Kerala government has asked tourists to stay away from the Shankumugham beach in state capital Thiruvananthapuram. The IMD has also cautioned fishermen from venturing into the sea. According to State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) sources, scores of people have been evacuated from the coastal areas. In Rajasthan, four persons were killed and 27 injured, including 26 MGNREGA workers, in lightning strikes in Jhalawar and Pali districts. A 14-month-old boy died and his mother was injured after the roof of a room of their house collapsed in Hyderabad, police said. The collapse was apparently due to the recent rains as water had accumulated on the roof, they said. Rainfall was recorded in several parts of Uttar Pradesh, where 18 people were killed after being struck by lightning in various districts. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressed sorrow over the loss of lives and announced Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of the deceased. Heavy showers lashed the national capital Sunday with Aya Nagar observatory recording 106 mm rainfall, leading to waterlogging and traffic congestion in many parts of the city.The minimum temperature settled at 26.8 degrees Celsius, a notch below the season's average, whereas the maximum touched 36.5 degrees Celsius mark, two notches above normal for this time of the year.There was no let up from the humid weather conditions in Delhi as the humidity oscillated between 100 per cent to 55 per cent.In Punjab, a flood-like situation triggered by torrential rains continued to prevail in some places, with the Ghaggar river inundating thousands of acres of standing crops. State Water Resources Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria said the government will find a permanent solution to deal with the flood-like situation which arises every year due to the overflowing of the Ghaggar. He said the river has wreaked havoc in some villages of these two districts during the current rainy season. Sarkaria visited Phulad and Khanauri in Sangrur district and Badshahpur and Sirkapra villages in Patiala district and reviewed the ongoing relief work there. An eight-month-old girl was killed and five others sustained multiple injuries in a landslide in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district. PTI TEAM CK