10 perish in floodwaters in India

At least 10 people were killed when their homes collapsed and another eight were missing after being swept away by floodwaters in northern India, bring the death toll from annual monsoon rains to at least 239, government officials said today.

At least 10 people were killed when their homes collapsed and another eight were missing after being swept away by floodwaters in northern India, bring the death toll from annual monsoon rains to at least 239, government officials said today.

Authorities accused neighbouring Nepal of relieving pressure on overburdened dams there by opening gates that sent water gushing downstream into India’s Uttar Pradesh state, partially submerging dozens of villages in Gorakhpur district, 160 miles east of Lucknow, the state capital.

“The Nepalese authorities released water without warning in the Sharda and Gandak rivers.

"Floodwaters have entered at least 200 villages, affecting more than 18,000 people,” said Uttar Pradesh state Irrigation Minister Munna Singh Chauhan.

There was no immediate comment by the Nepalese government.

Eight people were swept to their deaths by the flood waters last night in the district, Chauhan said.

Also last night, two adjacent homes collapsed when a tree fell on them during heavy rains in Barabanki, a town in northern Uttar Pradesh state, killing 10 people sleeping inside, said Surya Kant Mishra, a state government official.

Barabanki is 20 miles south-east of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state.

State authorities have asked the federal government to take up the matter with the Nepal. Under a water-sharing agreement, Nepal must inform the Uttar Pradesh state government about the release of any excess water.

Monsoon storms have claimed 131 in western Gujarat state, 55 in Uttar Pradesh, 23 in central Madhya Pradesh state, 12 in north-eastern Assam state, eight in southern Andhra Pradesh state, seven in western Maharashtra state and three in the northern state of Jammu-Kashmir.

The rains usually last from late May through September.

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