Death toll rises following disastrous flooding in Nepal, India

·4 min read

Days of torrential rain across northern India and western Nepal produced widespread flooding that has claimed over 100 lives, triggered landslides and left many others stranded or missing.

As of Friday, at least 100 people have died in Nepal as a result of the ongoing flooding. Dozens more remain unaccounted for, according to The Associated Press.

Footage of chaotic scenes of flood rescues has emerged this week throughout the devastated region. One video showed police officers in the city of Nainital struggling to save people as fast-moving floodwaters surged down the street. One officer was seen slipping and being carried away by the torrent of water.

Other videos captured landslides wiping away buildings and residents being airlifted by helicopter out of the flood-ravaged area. Pedestrians trudged through knee-deep water while cars left a wake along a road that had suddenly been transformed into a river. Other community members were seen carrying injured residents to a shelter.

Some of the hardest-hit areas were in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and western Nepal, along the lower slopes of the Himalayan Mountains. During a 24-hour period from Monday morning into Tuesday morning, some places picked up over 10 inches (250 mm) of rain.

About 60 people were stranded for two days in the village of Seti, located about 220 miles (354 km) west of Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu, Reuters said. "Rescuers were unable to reach the village due to bad weather and continuous rains yesterday. Rescue efforts are continuing today," Police spokesman Basanta Kunwar told Reuters on Wednesday.

People wade past a flooded area in Dipayal Silgadhi, Nepal, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. Floods and landslides triggered by days of torrential rains have killed at least 99 people in Nepal since Monday, officials said. (AP Photo/Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi)

One area that was particularly hit hard was Pantnagar, India, which is located about 140 miles (225 km) to the northeast of New Delhi and about 30 miles (48 km) from the western Nepal border. The community received 15.91 inches (404 mm) of rain during that time. Nearby Mukteshwar, India, received 13.43 inches (341 mm) of rain in 24 hours. Including rain that fell on the previous and preceding days, Mukteshwar picked up a total of 19.54 inches (496 mm) of rain.

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In the neighboring northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, at least 55 people were dead and others remain missing. Authorities ordered the closure of schools and banned all religious and tourist activities on Wednesday in the state.

"While the monsoon officially ended across these areas earlier in the month, surges of moisture can still occur as areas of low pressure track from the Bay of Bengal into Nepal and northern India," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls. "That is exactly what led to this flooding as a pair of monsoon lows tracked across the region from the weekend into the first half of this week."

The intense rain quickly caused rivers to swell and overflow. The saturated ground gave way in some and turned into dangerous mudslides, some of which buried buildings.

A rescue team delivers rations and essential supplies to Chukum village across the flooded Kosi river, with the broken retaining wall of the Lemon Tree hotel seen on right, in Uttarakhand state, India, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. At least 46 people have died and several are missing after floods triggered by heavy rains hit the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi)

Dozens of the fatalities in northern India were the result of seven separate landslides that destroyed several buildings.

The rain should ease in many of these areas through the rest of the week which will allow for continued recovery efforts, according to Nicholls.

In addition to the flooding rain in northern parts of India, flooding this past weekend struck the southwestern state of Kerala. At least 42 people were killed, and dramatic video surfaced of a house falling into a swollen river as residents watched in shock.

The system that caused the heavy rain in southern India was separate from what led to the intense rain in northern India and Nepal this week.

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