By Ebi Kesinea
At least 41 people died and more than a dozen were missing after landslides and flash floods triggered by several days of heavy rain hit northern India.
Officials in the Himalayan State of Uttarakhand said 35 people were killed in fresh landslides on Tuesday, after six died in similar incidents a day earlier.
At least 30 of them were killed in seven separate incidents in the worst-affected Nainital region early Tuesday, after cloudbursts an ultra-intense deluge of rain triggered a series of landslides and destroyed several structures.
Senior Civil Officer, Ashok Kumar Joshi confirmed 30 died while many people are still missing.
Joshi said several remote areas in the hilly region witnessed widespread damage in the intense rainfall.
Five of the dead were from a single-family whose house was buried by a massive landslide.
Another landslide in the northern Almora District killed five people after huge rocks and a wall of mud demolished and engulfed their home.
At least six others were killed on Monday in two remote districts of the state.
However, the Indian Meteorological Department extended and widened its weather alert on Tuesday, predicting “heavy” to “very heavy” rainfall in the region over the next two days.
Authorities ordered the closure of schools and banned all religious and tourist activities in the state.
Television footage and social media videos showed residents wading through knee-deep water near Nainital Lake, a tourist hotspot, and the Ganges bursting its banks in Rishikesh.
More than 100 tourists were stuck inside a resort in Ramgarh after the overflowing Kosi River deluged several areas.
Landslides are a regular danger in India’s Himalayan north, but experts say they are becoming more common as rains become increasingly erratic and glaciers melt. Experts also blame construction work on hydroelectric dams and deforestation.
Also, India’s weather office stated that heavy rains will again lash the state in the next two days after a brief reprieve.