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Rescue Ops Intensify as Flood Toll Nears 200 in Four States; 14 Die in Rain-Related Incidents Elsewhere

Death toll in flood-affected states is now nearing 200, while nine people were killed on Monday in landslides in Uttarakhand and Jammu following heavy rains.

New Delhi: Over 120 people were airlifted from an inundated road in Kutch as rescue operations were stepped up on Monday in flood-hit Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Death toll in these four states is now nearing 200, while nine people were killed in landslides in Uttarakhand and Jammu following heavy rains.

Five people were also killed in West Bengal and Odisha in rain-related incidents on Monday. Rains have calmed down in many parts of the flood-hit states, where over 12 lakh people have been affected till now, officials said.

The death toll in Kerala rose to to 83 on Monday, while in Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra, 116 people have lost their lives so far due to monsoon fury, as per official data.

In the hill state of Uttarakhand, which is being lashed by heavy rains, six persons, including a woman and her nine-month-old daughter, were buried alive in landslides in three different villages in Chamoli district.

The state emergency operation centre in Dehradun said the debris of landslides fell on three houses in Banjabgad, Aligaon and Lankhi villages in the district's Ghat area trapping occupants.

Six people suffocated to death in the incident, centre said.

In Jammu and Kashmir, three members of a family died after they came under a boulder during a landslide in Resai district. In states hit by floods, several roads were cleared on Monday, allowing partial movement of traffic, with priority being given to trucks carrying essential goods.

The Mumbai-Bengaluru National Highway-4, which was closed near Kolhapur in Maharashtra for the last six days, was also partially opened for traffic after the flood waters receded and thousands of stranded trucks carrying essential commodities were allowed to move.

Traffic movement was also allowed between Kolhapur and Belgaum in Karnataka. Precautionary measures are being taken in the deluge-hit states, as most rivers are in a spate and reservoirs at the danger mark.

In Kerala, the death toll increased to 83 with 2.55 lakh people having sought refuge in relief camps, official said, fearing the toll may go up as 50 people are still missing in Malappuram. There is no 'red alert' of torrential rains for any of the 14 districts on Tuesday, but "orange alert" has been issued for six districts.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday visited flood affected areas in his Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in the state, including the worst-hit Puthumala area, and assured all help to those hit by the calamity to rebuild their lives.

In Karnataka, 80 taluks in 17 districts have been affected due to floods and rains and the state government has put the death toll at 42 and those missing at 12.

The state on Monday announced an assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to those who have lost their houses completely in the floods and landslides, to take up construction work. Rs 1 lakh will be offered to those whose houses were damaged and Rs 5,000 monthly to those staying in rental accommodations till their houses are ready.

In Maharashtra, the death toll rose to 43 on Monday. Nearly 4.48 lakh people were evacuated from flood-hit areas, including 4.04 lakh from Kolhapur and Sangli, officials said, adding that 761 villages in 69 taluks have been affected by floods.

In Gujarat, where nearly 31 people have died in rain-related incidents in the last five days, efforts are on to trace and rescue fishermen of two missing boats.

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the IAF, state disaster response forces and local administration are providing relief and conducting rescue operations in states hit by monsoon fury.

In Odisha, an elderly woman was killed and her daughter-in-law seriously injured when a wall of their house collapsed in Kalahandi district, as fresh rains lashed several parts of the state on Monday, with a threat of flood looming large, officials said.

The state had been pounded by rains last week, too, claiming four lives and affecting at least nine districts in south and west Odisha. In the national capital, it was a sultry day on Monday, with light rains in the afternoon. The humidity levels oscillated between 89 and 47 per cent.

While the Safdarjung observatory recorded 3.2 mm rainfall, the Palam and the Ridge area observatories received 5.1 mm and 1.2 mm downpour respectively.

(With inputs from PTI)